The Watertown-Mayer volleyball team went 2-4 during a busy stretch last week, losing a non-conference game against Dassel-Cokato, dropping a conference match at home to No. 8 LeSueur-Henderson, and going 2-4 on Saturday at a tournament at Dassel-Cokato.
After the busy week, the Royals are now 11-11 overall and 1-3 in the Minnesota River Conference. The Royals take the court only once this week in a road matchup at Norwood Young America on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7:15 p.m.
DC 3, Royals 0
Maggie Perrel had 10 kills, Ashley Vealetzek added eight and Kate Theisen finished with seven, but it wasn’t enough for the Royals to prevent a 3-0 loss at former Wright County Conference foe Dassel-Cokato.
Theisen added a team-high 17 digs, while Vealetzek had 14. Perrel had 11 digs and two aces, Chelsea Wandersee had 28 assists and an ace and Katelyn Yliniemi had seven digs.
LSH 3, Royals 0
The Royals faced a tough task on Thursday, Sept. 26, facing a LeSueur-Henderson team that was ranked eighth in the state in Class AA and was just getting one of its strongest hitters back for the first time. The Royals hung around for most of the night, but ultimately just didn’t have enough firepower to hang with the Giants. LeSueur-Henderson came away with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-13 win.
“I thought we played well in first two games,” Watertown-Mayer coach Janis Runka said. “We just couldn’t quite close the door on them. We have to really learn to get over that hump and work hard at that.”
The Royals served over 90 percent in the match and got a team-high nine kills from Vealetzek. Perrel added five kills and four blocks, while Wandersee had 23 assists.
“In the LSH match, we just were that close,” Runka said. “They’re a good team and they had their big hitter back for the first time, and unfortunately, we had to face her. We handled them pretty well, but just kind of died out in third game. The first two games, we were right there, right on the edge. I’m pleased with way we played, but now we just need to get over the hump.”
The Royals went 2-2 at the tournament, but could have fared even better than that had a few close matches gone the Royals’ way.
The Royals cruised in the two matches they won, posting easy wins over Rockford and Kimball Area. In the two matches the Royals lost, they actually won the first set in each before dropping the final two sets by just two points apiece.
The Royals opened the tournament with a dominant 25-8, 25-15 over Rockford. The Royals also took an early lead against St. Cloud Tech in the second match after winning the first set 25-20, but lost the next two sets 25-23, 15-13. The Royals also won the first set against Eden Valley-Watkins in the next match, 27-25, but dropped the final two sets, 25-23 and 15-13. The Royals closed the day with another dominant win over Kimball Area, 25-13, 25-16, but in many regards, it was a day of missed opportunities.
“The killer instinct just wasn’t there in the two matches we lost,” Runka said. “We’ll have to work on that, and get that mental edge that we need to close it out.”
Perrel led the Royals with 47 kills, 15 blocks and seven aces during the day, while Wandersee added 101 assists. Kate Theisen had 28 digs and 16 kills, while Wandersee and Perrel both had 19 digs and Kiana Paulson had 11 kills.