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Knights earn sweep over Chargers

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Gabbie Bleick (20) looks to tip the ball past Sleepy Eye St. Marys’ Julia Helget (5) and Jaci Domeier (2) during a nonconference volleyball match Tuesday at St. Mary’s High School.

SLEEPY EYE — While the second meeting of the season between Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and Minnesota Valley Lutheran was a nonconference volleyball match on Tuesday, the Knights were still determined to make a statement against the only team to earn a set win over them this year.

The Knights were able to do that by picking up a 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 win over the Chargers, moving to 22-0 on the season.

St. Mary’s defeated MVL on Sept. 21 in Tomahawk Conference action a MVL High School. The Chargers forced four sets during that match, however, which remains the only time the Knights have gone past three sets in a match this season.

Led by Madison Mathiowetz’s 18 kills, 19 digs and three blocks, the Knights were able to take down the block-heavy Chargers early on Tuesday.

“We knew seeing MVL last time that they were phenomenal blockers,” Knights head coach Jen Walter said. “And actually, we did our blocking coverage after that. We talked about that, they have that one really strong rotation with those girls that are super aggressive with blocking up there. I think that we did a really good job of letting our hitters be aggressive, and our hitters were comfortable knowing that we were probably going to dig it up and that we were going to have good coverage on it.”

The Knights also got 13 kills, 11 digs and three blocks from Jaci Domeier, while Bella Hoffmann had 16 set assists and three aces, Allie Labat had 14 set assists and six digs and Julia Helget had 11 digs and three kills.

MVL was led by Abbie Riederer, who had 12 kills and nine digs. Ella Schlei added seven kills and four blocks also for the Chargers, while Samantha Dalueg had 13 set assists, 15 digs and two blocks, Ava Munsen had four kills and two blocks, Morgan Paulsen had 18 digs and Gabbie Bleick added seven digs.

MVL started the first set aggressively and jumped out to an early 9-4 lead after back-to-back blocks. The Knights went on a 6-0 run midway through the set, tying it at 12-all after an ace by Domeier and taking a 15-12 lead after back-to-back MVL attack errors.

The Chargers hung around and tied it late at 20-all after a kill by Munsen, but the Knights were able to close the set on a 4-0 run, getting a kill by Mathiowetz to end the first set with a win.

Set 2 saw both teams exchange points early on until a kill by Riederer was followed with a 3-0 Knights run for a 9-6 lead. An 8-2 run capped off on a kill by Mathiowetz put the Knights up 17-8, forcing an MVL timeout.

MVL cut the deficit to 22-18, but the Knights got a 3-0 run to end the set and go up 2-0 in the match.

The third set saw MVL take an early 7-5 lead after a kill by Riederer. The Knights tied it after a block and an ace serve by Domeier and later got a 4-0 run to lead 13-8 and force an MVL timeout.

The Chargers made a late push to keep things interesting, getting a 6-0 run late to trail 23-21. During the run, Riederer and Schlei each had a pair of kills. The Knights stopped the run with 2 quick points, though, with an ace by Mathiowetz ending the match.

The Chargers (8-13) host Sleepy Eye on Thursday in conference play, while the Knights continue their busy week by hosting Cedar Mountain on Thursday in conference action.

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