St. Olaf stops MLC in 3
NEW ULM — Martin Luther College had a chance to avenge its Sept. 1 loss to St. Olaf, but the Oles kept the Knights at bay all game, picking up a 3-0 win in nonconference volleyball action on Monday night.
The Oles (12-5) beat the Knights (10-7) 25-13, 25-17, 25-18.
“Offensively, we were unable to slow their attack,” MLC coach Becky Cox said. “We needed to maybe get a few more blocks or a few more touches on their swings. They hit .500 in the first set, so we didn’t slow them down enough.”
St. Olaf had an 8-5 team blocks advantage over MLC during the match and had a .326 attack percentage that countered the Knights .069 attack percentage.
The Oles took a 5-0 lead to open up Set 1 and force a Knights’ timeout. The Knights got their first point on a kill by Grace Schultz to make the score 7-1.
Trailing 19-11, MLC used a second timeout. The Knights got 2 points in a row out of the timeout, but they were unable to continue closing the gap as the Oles went on a 6-0 run to end the first set.
Trailing 4-0 to open Set 2, the Knights brought their deficit to 4-3, benefitting on a pair of attack errors. MLC later trailed 12-6 and St. Olaf took a timeout.
After the timeout, MLC went on a 4-1 run to cut the deficit to 13-10, led by kills from Ruth Buchholz and Rylee Weisensel. That was the closest the Knights came to catching the Oles in Set 2, though, as they fell 25-17.
A block by Weisensel and Kira Grev gave the Knights a 1-0 lead to kick off Set 3. After a kill by Buchholz, the set was tied at 5-5.
The Knights tied things up again moments later at 9-9 after a Jade St. Germaine kill and again tied it at 12-12 on a kill by Buchholz. Back-to-back kills by Grev brought the Knights within 2 later on as they trailed 18-16.
A 7-2 St. Olaf close-out run, however, wrapped things up at MLC in Set 3.
St. Germaine led the Knights with seven kills, while Grev added six kills and seven digs. Hailey Stade led the Knights in set assists with 13, while Emily Byhardt had 12.
Schultz and Buchholz had five kills and four kills respectively, while Taylor Weber added nine digs.
“Our offense — we were somewhat predictable as to where we were going,” Cox said. “And they’re [St. Olaf] quick and they were getting there on defense and putting a good block on us, especially in that first set. But they just played well and they beat us.”
The Knights host Northwestern at 3 p.m. Saturday and UW-Superior at 7 p.m later the same night.