Greyhounds hold off Raiders in 5

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Nicollet’s Brooklyn Bode spikes the ball past New Ulm Cathedral’s Lily Brennan (1) and Lily Franta (6) as teammate Hayley Selby (4) looks on in a nonconference volleyball match on Monday at Nicollet High School.

NICOLLET — Despite Nicollet forcing a fifth set on Monday night, New Ulm Cathedral responded strong in the fifth set to pull out a 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 15-7 win in nonconference volleyball action.

Greyhounds head coach Becky Wilfahrt said that her team did better overall as the match went on and closed out strong against a team the Greyhounds may meet again soon in the Section 2A playoffs.

“I think after the first set, we did a much better job as hitters and seeing what was open,” Wilfahrt said. “Moving the ball around, we’ve been working a lot on. I think our servers did a nice job of moving the ball around as well. … In the fifth game, we just talked about, ‘We need to bring the energy. You’re probably going to see this team again in a couple of weeks and it might make the difference between home and away.’ So they finished strong, even after a tough Game 4.”

After the Raiders took a 14-9 lead in the fourth set on a kill from Olivia Whitmore, the Greyhounds burned their first timeout of the match. The Greyhounds got within 2 out of the timeout, but the Raiders went on a late 4-0 run to take command again and ended up closing the set on a kill by Brooklyn Gohr to force a fifth set.

In the fifth set, the Greyhounds jumped out to an early 7-3 lead after a block by Sydnee Helget to force a Raiders timeout. The Raiders got a kill by Hayley Selby out of the timeout, but the Greyhounds went on a 5-1 run to lead 13-5, getting back-to-back aces from Lily Franta during the stretch. The Greyhounds ended the set moments later on a kill by Lily Brennan.

Megan Haala led the Greyhounds with 12 kills and 24 digs, while Helget had 12 kills and three blocks. Brennan added 10 kills and four aces for Cathedral, while Franta had 22 digs and five aces and Emily Schommer had 29 set assists and three blocks.

Nicollet was led by Selby’s 14 kills, while Marah Hulke added 11 kills, 17 digs and 23 set assists. Brooklyn Bode added nine kills, seven blocks and three aces.

Earlier in the first set, Cathedral had a 13-10 lead after a 6-0 run. The Raiders tied it up quickly, though, and later got a 6-0 run of their own to lead 23-16, getting a pair of kills from Hulke during the run. The Greyhounds made it interesting and pulled back within 1 late after a 5-0 run, but the Raiders got the final point for a 1-0 match lead.

The Greyhounds controlled the second set early with a 12-4 lead after blocks by Brennan and Franta before the Raiders climbed back to trail 12-11 after a 7-0 run. The Raiders were never able to tie it up in the set after that, however, as the Greyhounds kept enough distance on the way to tying the match at one set apiece.

The third set was competitive early on as Nicollet battled back from a 9-4 deficit to tie it at 11-all on a kill from Hulke. Cathedral got a 5-1 run to lead 16-12, however, and never allowed Nicollet to tie it up again on the way to a 25-20 win in Set 3.

Hulke said that the Raiders, who end their regular season with a 17-11 record, still gained some confidence heading into playoffs despite the loss.

“It definitely boosts our confidence even though we didn’t win,” Hulke said. “They [Cathedral] went to five with Cleveland early in the season, we got swept by Cleveland earlier in the season. So that shows we definitely can play with the better teams as long as we’re playing our game.”

As for the Greyhounds, now 19-4 on the year, they end their regular season Tuesday night when they host the undefeated Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Knights.

“The pressure is on them at this point,” Wilfahrt said of the Knights. “The conference is over, seeding is pretty much done — it’s not until Wednesday — but it’s really for us to go in and, ‘Hey, let’s use this as a good game going into playoffs.’ Putting everything together, being relaxed, playing hard, moving the ball around. Last time we played them, we struggled a lot with their block, we’ve just got to get our hitters going.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?


Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today