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2008: A successful season for the Morris Area volleyball team

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Morris Area first-year head coach Becky Hayden believes success is measured by more than just wins and losses at the end of the volleyball season.

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"As a team, with every game, we got better," said Hayden. "We took top teams to five games."

In fact, while the Tigers were not able to defeat tough conference rivals like Benson, Montevideo, and Lac qui Parle Valley, they did force a fifth game in those matches in the second half of the season.

The Tigers were 10-14 overall and 6-8 in the West Central Conference South.

For Hayden, the season highlight came early.

"The first game of the season with Minnewaska set the tone for the season," she said.

The opening match, played in the Morris Area Elementary gym, was an intense back-and-forth affair ending with the Tigers winning 19-17 in the fifth set.

The next time the two teams met, Morris Area swept the Lakers 3-0 at Minnewaska.

Other clean sweeps came against Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and twice with Paynesville Area.

The Tigers were very successful in the Sept. 6 tournament at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The team won three matches and tied twice, before falling to the Eagles in the championship match.

The season ended in the section play-off game at Yellow Medicine East with a 3-1 loss to Montevideo.

In her first season as a high school coach, Hayden had the advantage of having nine seniors of the varsity team.

"The seniors helped out in leadership," Hayden said. "They all had responsibilities and they knew what was expected of them.

"All of the coaches appreciate their hard work," she added. "They gave us everything we asked for."

Hayden appreicates the hard work of all the seniors, Alissa Melberg, Sara Beyer, Dani Staples, Brianna Neuman, Heather Gagner, Alisha Roske, Fallon Meixel, Shawna Itzen, and Kelsey Amundson.

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