The gym or field is always packed with spectators when Mayer Lutheran faces off against NYA Central, and it was no different Sept. 13 as the volleyball teams collided at Mayer Lutheran.
The Crusaders won 3-0, taking the sets 25-23, 25-9, and 25-19. Mayer Lutheran began the game shaky, while the Raiders came out on fire, putting pressure on from the first serve, according to Crusader head coach Joelle Grimsley. The Crusaders had nine unforced errors in the first set, which the Raiders capitalized on.
“As play progressed we were able to run an uptempo offense and get into Crusader rhythm,” Grimsley said, and the Crusaders would win game one 25-23.
Mayer Lutheran buckled down in the second and third games, minimizing errors and played a stronger defense.
“The Crusaders kept their level of intensity up throughout the entire match which was great to see,” Grimsley said.
Mayer Lutheran was 61-74 in serving on the night, with nine aces. The team had 35 kills in 78 attempts, along with 25 set assists, 16 digs, and six blocks. Senior Ashlyn Hucky had 24 of the 25 set assists. She also had three kills. Senior Nico Schmidt led in kills with 12, followed by junior Rachel Schmidt (10), senior Kristen Mielke (5), Hucky (3), sophomore Maria Kuntz (2) and senior Christina Bruggman (2).
Many Crusaders had strong serving nights including Kuntz (9-10), senior Anna Ernst (12-14), senior Emma Christopherson (5-6), junior Lauren Schroeder (6-6), and junior Shelby Sicheneder (1-1). Nico Schmidt had four aces, while Rachel Schmidt had two. Digging for the Crusaders were Rachel Schmidt (5), Ernst (3), Nico Schmidt (3), and junior Jessi Grimsley (2). Mielke was credited with four of the team’s six blocks.
This week is a busy one for the Crusaders, traveling to LeSueur-Henderson tonight, Sept. 20, before playing in the Class A showcase tournament this weekend at the Midwest Volleyball Warehouse in Burnsville. The tournament includes seven of the top ten teams in Class A. The Crusaders will take on Upsala, Lake of the Woods, and No. 8 (1A) Win-E-Mac on Friday night. Win-E-Mac knocked the Crusaders out of the state tournament last season with a 3-0 victory on Nov. 12.