By Dave Clark
Journal Sports Writer
SPRINGFIELD - There's more to the Springfield Tigers volleyball team than just a pretty offense.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Karlee Pfaff (10) defends as Springfield’s Shelby Schultz (2) tips the ball over the net during the Tigers’ Section 2A playoff win Thursday at Springfield. Looking on is the Tigers’ Heidi Veenstra.
In the second round of the Section 2A, North Subsection tournament, Springfield swept the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds 25-13, 25-21, 25 by adding some crisp passing and improved serve receiving.
"We've spent a lot of time in practice on our passing and serve recieve," Tigers coach TiffanyThedens said. "Our passing tonight was very, very good."
25-4 Springfield advances to play Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Tuesday night at Sibley East High School in Gaylord.
The Greyhounds end their season 13-13, looking much better than they did earlier in the year despite the final defeat. "You have to give a lot of credit to the seniors for bringing Cathedral's program to this point," coach Stef Dietz said. "We did everything we could tonight. Springfield's a nice ball club. When we could get our offense going, we did well. We played with a lot of heart."
The Tigers leading hitter, Morgan Hansen, didn't disappoint the Springfield fans during the first set, slamming 11 kills, while fellow hitters Heidi Veenstra and Tiffany Schwanke accounted for five more.
The second set saw a closer game, with Cathedral taking a 14-12 lead after four ties. A kill from Jordan Salonek and a ace from Schwanke allowed the Tigers to regain the lead, which they never relinquished. Consecutive kills from Schwanke ended the set and put Springfield up 2-0.
It looked like the Tigers might run away with the third set as they ran out to a 9-4 lead. But the Greyhounds battled away, finally tying the game at 11-11. They had their final lead at 15-14 after three more ties, but once Springfield was up 18-17, the momentum shifted. The final four points of the match came from unforced Greyhounds errors, ending Cathedral's season.
Hansen led all players offensively with 23 kill, with Schwanke adding nine and Veenstra seven. Kasey Kretsch added 20 digs, while Shelby Schultz contributed 31 set assists.
For the Greyhounds, Lisa Helget and Kristin Mohr both had eight kills, with the two of them combining for five aces. Paige Pautzke ended her volleyball career as the Greyhounds all-time leader in set assists, adding 21 to her total Thursday night.