Monroe’s Cayla Hernandez (1) goes to set the ball up for an assist against the Hutchison Hawks on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 at Hutchison High School. Hutchison’s Grace Halbrooks (10), Monroe’ Casey Elterman (5), and Monroe’s Delaney Ott (far right) also pictured. Hart Pisani/News-Miner

The Monroe Catholic Rams would tell you that Friday wasn’t their finest performance. If you’ve seen a Hutchison Hawks volleyball match this year, you’d know that they showed improvement at home on Friday night.

At the end of the day, however, the Rams still left Hutchison with a three-set sweep and the Hawks are still winless on the year.

Following an enormous upset victory over the Lathrop Malemutes on Wednesday evening, the Rams claimed a road win over Hutch 25-8, 25-14, 25-17. Monroe is now 4-1 on the season while Hutchison is 0-3.

After cruising through the first set, Monroe remained in control for much of the second set as well. However, they weren’t able to close out the Hawks with the same ease they did in set one. Moreover, the Rams actually found themselves trailing Hutch for a portion of the third set, including 10-11 at one point. The Rams collected themselves and took advantage of a few Hawk miscues to still get the sweep in the end.

“I think we definitely could’ve done a lot better,” said Monroe junior Delaney Ott. “I think overall we tried and worked hard. We came back in the end and that’s all that matters.”

Ott led the Rams with 11 kills, Brityn Ward added a team high six aces and Cayla Hernandez led the way with 15 assists. Casey Elterman (team high eight digs) and Jane Menard (two of the team’s four blocks) led the way on defense.

As for the Hawks, the 11-10 lead in the third was one of the few they’ve managed so late into a set this year. To pull it off against one of the best teams in Fairbanks, especially one that just beat Lathrop, is no small task. At the end of the day, however, Hutch is still seeking not only their first win in a match, but also their first win in a set as they’re 0-25 including 0-16 in the West Valley Invite.

“Our team has been struggling with talking and working together so we definitely need to work on that,” said senior Grace Halbrooks. “We’re all just trying to work as a team. We don’t really know each other. We have some freshmen on the team and people who haven’t played so it’s definitely frustrating, but I think we’re all starting to work together.”

Halbrooks had a game-high 18 digs while Grace Ewan added nine digs and one block to lead the Hawks.

Next up, Hutch will visit Lathrop on Tuesday while Monroe will host Galena on Friday.

Contact sports editor Hart Pisani at hpisani@newsminer.com or 907-459-7530.