NEW ULM - It was over as soon as it began.
The Martin Luther College volleyball team made quick work of North Central College, defeating the Rams 25-7, 25-13, 25-12 in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference volleyball action Friday night. The match lasted just 56 minutes as MLC improved to 2-1 in UMAC play.
The Knights left little doubt as to whether or not they were fired up by scoring the first 11 points of the match.
"We definitely knew that we couldn't overlook them," said junior Heather Danell, who finished with 12 kills to lead the Knights. "They're going to come out ready to play us and we can't overlook a team and be focusing on a team that we play the next day."
Coach Becky Cox pointed out that the Rams were short-handed and that it was important for the Knights to get out to a lead.
"I think they were missing their libero and I've been watching film - they've actually been playing fairly well and they've come a long way. But our passing was very crisp in that first set and that allowed us to really connect, and that was just wonderful."
While the quick win was big for the Knights, it did come at a cost. Sophomore Leah Nass went down with a knee injury in the first set and did not return.
In the first set, a block and a kill by Nass early on made it 10-0, and Kayla Schoeneck's ace serve made it 11-0.
After the quick first set, the Knights jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the second set. That fueled the 25-13 victory.
MLC had a little more difficult of a time in the third set before the Knights distanced themselves. A 5-5 game eventually turned into a 16-8 lead on Danell's kill.
Rebecca Engelbrecht had seven kills and Morgan Kumbier finished with five kills. Miranda Maasz had 35 set assists and 10 digs and Schoeneck had 11 digs.
Sarah Trickey led North Central with six kills and Whitney Rheames had five kills. Elissa Pheneger finished with 12 set assists.
The Knights have a real test with Northwestern at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Eagles were picked to win the UMAC in the preseason coaches poll, so the Knights know they'll have to be prepared.
"We're going to have to come out ready to play, they're a great team and we know that we're just going to have to be ready to play our game like we know that we can," said Danell.