Eagles win 2nd straight

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Ashlyn Donner (6) spikes the ball past A Blue Earth Area defender Tuesday at New Ulm High School.

NEW ULM — After picking up its first win of the season at Worthington on Monday, the New Ulm volleyball team captured another first in Tuesday’s home opener against Blue Earth Area: the first home win since the 2015 season.

The Eagles (2-3, 1-1) took down the Buccaneers in Big South Conference action 25-13, 19-25, 25-17, 25-7.

Madeline Gag, who ended the night with seven kills and four blocks for New Ulm, said it was great to end the losing streak at home and that the hard work paid off.

“It was pretty great,” Gag said. “We’ve been working all season for it, we’ve been so close, and it just felt so nice to be able to get one at home. [Monday] we won, but it felt so much better to win at home.”

Midway through the first set, New Ulm began to take over and forced six BEA errors in a row. New Ulm ended the set on an 11-0 run that featured a balance attack, with kills by Ellie Bute, Nora Windschill and Ally Steffensmeier during the run.

The second set had the Bucs firing back at New Ulm as the Eagles surrendered an early 9-0 run to trail 9-2. The Eagles battled back to get within 4, 23-19, but the early deficit was too much to overcome as BEA took the second set.

The Eagles took a 16-10 lead in the third set after a trio of aces by Izzy Wolkow and a kill by Windschill. New Ulm ended the set on a 5-0 run and back-to-back kills by Gag.

Set 4 was complete domination by New Ulm, with the Eagles going on an 11-0 run at one point in the set to lead 20-3. A block by Gag and Olivia Wick gave New Ulm the victory.

Wolkow had 27 set assists, 10 digs and three aces for the Eagles, while Steffensmeier was 25 for 27 serving with 14 digs. Ashlyn Donner had seven kills, six digs and five aces for New Ulm, while Windschill had 11 kills and Wick had five kills and three blocks. Ellie Bute added nine digs and three aces for New Ulm.

After the slow start to the year for New Ulm, back-to-back wins has the team feeling confident and excited for the rest of the year.

“We’re really building confidence,” Gag said. “That last set, we totally killed just because we were so confident and we were so ready to just go. We’re so confident in each other.”

New Ulm is at St. James for a 7:15 p.m. Big South meeting on Thursday.