LCWM holds off Chargers in 4-set battle

Staff photo by Ari Selvey Minnesota Valley Lutheran's Ava Munsen (15) attacks the ball during a nonconference volleyball game against Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial on Thursday at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.

MANKATO — Despite starting with a 4-0 lead in attempts to force a Game 5 against Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, Minnesota Valley Lutheran ended up falling to the Knights in the fourth game of a nonconference volleyball match Thursday at Bethany Lutheran College, dropping the match 25-23, 24-26, 25-19, 25-22.

“This is a great game to start with because Lake Crystal is in our section,” MVL head coach Amy Pearson said. “It gave us a good feel for what it’s going to look like when we get to the playoffs rounds. Obviously we would have liked to have started with a win, but we battled with them each and every set.

“They were a scrappy team. They got up all of our attacks, so it was a challenge for us to find the holes in the defense, which is something we need to work on.”

Ava Munsen led the Chargers with 18 kills and six digs. Kerigan Brau had 34 set assists with four kills, six digs and two aces, while Ella Hunter had 28 digs and two aces.

Set 1 started with a kill by Munsen, and the teams traded points for the entire game, with several good volleys by both teams. Pearson called a timeout to try to break the gridlock with the score tied at 20, but it was the Knights that pulled away at the end, winning the first set 25-23.

Set 2 began much the same way, with the teams trading points until halfway through the game when the Chargers took a small lead on a Marley Shauer kill to go up 19-18, a lead they maintained until Lake Crystal tied the game at 24. MVL sealed the win on a Munsen kill and a Munsen ace to take the second set.

Set 3 was a more commanding Lake Crystal victory, with the Knights gaining an 11-8 lead early and never falling behind after that, going on to win 25-19. MVL struggled with putting serves in during this set, causing them to drop the game.

MVL jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Set 4 behind some strong serves by Kerigan Brau, but Lake Crystal worked its way back to a 11-11 tie before going on a 6-2 run to go up 17-13. The Chargers chipped away to cut the lead to 24-22, but a kill by Lake Crystal’s 5-11 Ally Mann gave the Knights the victory.

Pearson said that the game taught the team a lot about what they can improve on, as well as some things they could build upon.

“Putting our hands on a few more blocks would be nice,” Pearson said. “Especially when they hit us with the slides and the quick attacks. We need to be ready for that. … Our serve-receive has just improved a ton just from last year, so we had a lot of good passes right up to the net. We were able to spray our sets around, which is something we’ve been working on, not just going to a single hitter or to, but using all our weapons.

“We had a couple of young players who, this is their first varsity game, so we had a little nerves that we were working out there. I think that they both [Olivia Hammer and Marley Schauer] rose to the challenge and got their feet wet at the varsity level, that’s good.

MVL (1-0) takes on Maple River on Tuesday.


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