NEW ULM - It was a very satisfying evening for the Martin Luther College volleyball team.
Not only did MLC defeat its rival Bethany Lutheran College in three sets, but the win also clinched a birth in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference playoffs.
Playing in the final home game of the year, MLC got off to a hot start, opening up a 12-4 lead. The Knights would not look back and took the opening set rather 25-14.
"We wanted to come out strong and prove we were the dominant team and get some momentum to carry on through the match," senior Rachel Hein said. "We were happy with how we were playing and having a lot of fun out there."
The second set turned out to be a little closer. With the Knights leading 17-16, Rebecca Engelbrecht turned in a pair of monster kills and Miranda Maasz added a service ace to help the Knights take control of the second set. MLC would go on to win the second set 25-22.
After surviving the second set, MLC got off to another quick start to bury the Vikings. MLC got off to a very quick 14-4 start, getting five kills from Engelbrecht along the way. MLC would go on to defeat the Vikings 25-14 and complete the season sweep against its rival.
Engelbrecht led the way for MLC with 18 kills and 12 digs, while Maasz added 35 set assists and four aces. Alex Anthon led MLC in digs with 14 and Leah Nass had a team-high four blocks.
MLC improved to 14-11 overall (8-4 in the UMAC) and clinched a playoff birth due to a loss by Northland College. The Knights will hit the road for the weekend, playing against St. Scholastica on Friday and Northland College on Saturday.
"It was good to get a solid win tonight in three because our games this weekend will determine our spot for the conference championship," Hein said. "Hopefully we can come out strong against those teams and keep the momentum going."