NEW ULM - It wasn't so much the Minnesota Valley Lutheran volleyball team dug some holes for itself, it was that the Sibley East Wolverines had some mighty big shovels.
The Wolverines swept the Chargers 25-15, 25-18, 25-18 with a combination of power and defense that opened wide leads for Sibley East in each set, while MVL waited until it was too late to stage rallies.
While it was the Chargers' opening match of the year, the Wolverines took Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop in five sets Tuesday night, a factor that probably helped Sibley East Thursday night.
"Having one match under our belts helped," said Sibley East coach Chip Wolverton. "We knew what we needed to work on. The team is really trying to be sound fundamentally and technically.
"McKayla Stumm was a real key for us in the back row. We did earn a lot of the points. We're very deep. We can bring people off the bench and not lose much."
On the MVL side, coach Sara Gieseke was pleased her team showed fight and tenacity instead of folding when it was down by double digits.
"I was very happy with our aggressiveness," Gieseke said. "We need to work on our hitting and blocking errors, but they'll be getting those hits in."
The Wolverines were quickly up 4-0 in the first set behind two kills from Shelby Voight and eventually built a 17-7 lead after two unforced MVL errors.
It wasn't until that margin was extended to 22-8 that the Chargers scored four in a row to make it 22-13 before an out-of-bounds serve and a ball in the net put Sibley East up 1-0.
The second set started in a similar fashion with the Wolverines holding a 4-0 edge.
Then the Chargers went on a 6-0 run behind four kills and two errors by Sibley East for their only lead of the night, 6-4.
But then the Wolverines fired back with a five-point run of their own and later held a commanding 19-9 lead behind three kills in a row by Megan Krentz and two kills each from Kailey Geib and Megan Eckberg.
MVL tried to fight back, shaving the Sibley East lead to 24-18, but a kill from Eckberg that hit the back line gave the Wolverines a 2-0 lead.
Set three was again tied at 4-4 before Sibley East again pulled away to take a 16-6 lead after a Eckberg ace. The lead stayed at double digits at 19-9 before the Chargers again made a small move, cutting three points off the lead before a kill from Alyssa Weber put the match in the books.
The Wolverines were led by Krentz with eight kills, Eckberg with seven kills and two blocks, Karley Lind with 23 set assists and four aces and Voight with 10 digs and four aces.
The Chargers Laura Schoenherr had 19 set assists, Rylee Weisensel had seven kills and 10 blocks and Bekka Olsen contributed five kills, five digs and four blocks.
MVL resumes play next Tuesday night at 7 p.m by hosting Sleepy Eye St. Mary's, while Sibley East travels to Montgomery next Thursday night at 7 p.m to take on Tri-City United.