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MLC tops BLC in 5-setter

NEW ULM — The Martin Luther College women’s volleyball team downed Bethany Lutheran College 23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 22-25, 15-11 on Tuesday in an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference volleyball match.

“Recently, we turned the corner in confidence,” MLC head coach Rebecca Cox said. “We believe we can come back, we can battle back and we keep fighting.”

Cox praised her team for its resiliency and its tenacity in tough situations. She said Kelsey Birschbach hit really well, and as the match progressed, her teammates followed her lead.

Aside from a number of unforced errors, service errors hampered BLC throughout the entire match.

In the fifth set, the match was tied seven times and there were four lead changes. Birschbach’s kill tied it at 7-7. A BLC player knocked the ball out of bounds to give MLC an 8-7 lead. Abigail Winkel’s kill made it 13-10 MLC. Lauren Paulsen’s kill brought the Knights closer to victory. Willems sealed the deal with a block at the net for the set and match point.

The Vikings prevailed in the fourth set. BLC held a 10-1 lead early on. The Knights kept chipping away, but they could not tie it nor take the lead. A kill by Paulsen and a block by Willems brought MLC within 1 point at 23-22. Alexis Morsching’s kill and a block by a Viking put the set into the BLC column.

In the third set, MLC was able to get the lead early, and it was able to hold onto it. There were only two ties and one lead change. MLC’s win by 10 points was the biggest margin by which either team had.

BLC and MLC went toe-for-toe in the second set. There were nine ties and the lead changed hands four times. Rilee Hohbein’s kill made it 21-21. A Viking player missed a block to give MLC a point and the lead. Paulsen’s kill moved MLC closer to winning the set. Hohbein’s kill gave BLC a point. Hohbein’s net serve meant that MLC won the set.

The first set was close with neither team leading by more than a few points. An out-of-bound return by BLC tied it at 23-23. A double block at the net earned the Viking’s 24th point. On the serve, the ball skimmed across the top of the net and dropped into MLC territory for the set point.

Wolf had 28 set assists and 18 digs for the Knights. Birschbach added 13 kills with 10 digs. Rhianna Hunter and Paulsen each had 10 kills. Katelyn Aswege had 19 digs.

Megan Gallagher had 41 set assists for BLC. Maddi Wendland had 18 digs and Esther Peeters added 11 digs. Alexis Morsching had 13 kills and Hohbein added 18 kills.

MLC travels to take on Northland at 7 p.m. Friday.

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