NEW ULM - Ever hear a coach say "we had such a great practice, I don't know what happened during the game?"
Welcome to the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers volleyball team, who were swept by the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds Tuesday night in Tomahawk Conference action 25-21, 25-21, 25-19.
The sweep was due more to the Greyhounds ability to play defense and block the Chargers front line offense.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s MacKinnon Ehlenz (5) spikes the ball as Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Rylee Weisensel (6) and Rachel Olsen set up a block attempt Tuesday at CHS.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
"The defense won the game for us and the blocks were important," Cathedral coach Stef Dietz said. "We had great play in the back row, we came up with big plays when we needed to and there were no communication breakdowns. This was a huge win for us, something to give us more confidence. I'm very excited about this team."
Meanwhile, MVL coach Sara Gieseke was left wondering if she was seeing the same team she watched in practice Monday.
"What's so surprising is we had such a good practice so to show up and play like this is disappointing," Gieseke said. "We just couldn't get out of situations and things snowballed. Credit Cathedral for playing smart and relaxed and not making the errors we did."
The Greyhounds took control of the first set and eventually took a 13-7 lead. The Chargers came back with the next three, but Cathedral rattled off the next five to grab a 18-10 advantage.
The Greyhounds kept cruising and took a 22-13 lead after a Amber Hillesheim ace, but MVL fought back behind two kills from Rylee Weisensel, an ace from Bekka Olsen and four unforced errors by Cathedral that made it 22-20.
A kill by MacKinnon Ehlenz, a kill block by Anna Mohr and an ace by Abby Hauser put the Greyhounds up 1-0. While Cathedral grabbed a 7-3 lead in the second set, MVL came back with the help of two kills from Weisensel to knot it at 7-7. The two teams traded leads and ties until it was 14-14, when a kill and kill block by Anna Mohr helped establish a 19-15 Cathedral margin.
The Chargers rallied again behind two kills from Weisensel and cut the margin to 19-18. A lift call against the Greyhounds six plays later again cut their lead to one, 22-21, but a critical net serve by the Chargers was followed by a ball in the net and a kill from Cathedral that put the Greyhounds in a 2-0 drivers seat.
The third set saw MVL with its largest lead of the night at 6-3, but after Cathedral came back to tie it at 6-6, then three more times, the Greyhounds went ahead 10-9 and never relinquished the lead after that. Cathedral eventually doubled the lead at 20-10 before a tip kill from Ehlenz ended the evening.
Kristin Mohr led the Greyhounds with nine kills, with Hillesheim adding 11 digs, Morgan Schabert contributing 15 set assists and Anna Mohr leading the defense with seven blocks. Olsen led the Chargers with nine kills and 12 digs, while Laura Schoenherr had 23 set assists.
The Greyhounds improve to 12-8-1 overall and 3-3 in the Tomahawk Conference and hosts Cedar Mountain/Comfrey at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. MVL drops to 10-15, 3-4 and travels to play Maple River at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.