LHS begins conference VB schedule Thurs.

Sophomore Kalie Winter sets for LHS during the Crusaders' Aug. 27 match.
Sophomore Kalie Winter sets for LHS during the Crusaders’ Aug. 27 match.

There’s nothing like six volleyball matches in a week to start the season with a bang, and that’s just what the Mayer Lutheran volleyball team did.

New Prague 3, Mayer Lutheran 0

Starting 2013 on the road at New Prague on Aug. 26, the Crusaders fell 22-25, 24-26, and 14-25 for the 3-0 loss. Head coach Joelle Grimsley said the first two sets showed just how hard the Crusaders can play.

“I was very proud of how we played through our mistakes,” she said. “We were able to play right with them the first two sets.”

The team totalled 33 kills, 14 of which came from senior Rachel Schmidt. Schmidt was also 14-14 on serves and had six digs. The rest of the Crusader kills came from senior Shelby Sicheneder (7), junior Maria Kuntz (5), sophomore Kalie Winter (3), and senior Sam Bartz (2).

The 31 team digs were led by senior Jessi Grimsley and also included Sicheneder (9) and Schmidt (6).

“We are learning many, many things right now as a team and work very hard at practice so it will be exciting to see how far we can go this year,” Grimsley said.

St. Croix Lutheran 3, Mayer Lutheran 1

The Crusaders then hosted St. Croix Lutheran the following evening, and fell 3-1 (19-25, 16-25, 25-22, and 24-26). Grimsley said after a two-set slow and error-filled start, the Crusaders stepped up their level of play.

“Games 1 and 2 we played a bit indecisive and let St. Croix control the tempo,” she said.

Games 3 and 4 were much more contested by LHS, with the Crusaders winning Game 3 and narrowly missing Game 4.

“In Game 3 the Crusaders passed very well and were able to run an effective offense. We made very few mistakes in the last two games, which is something we are working on,” Grimsley said. “Shelby and Rachel were very aggressive and found many ways to put the ball down late in Game 4.”

Stat leaders included Schmidt (23 kills, 15 digs, 9-10 serves), Sicheneder (9 kills, 8 digs, 14-14 serves), senior Lauren Schroeder (19 set assists, 6 digs, 8-9 serves), and Winter (2 kills, 5 digs, 12 set assists, 13-13 serves). Kuntz also had eight kills and one block, while Bartz had one kill and was 8-9 serving. Jessi Grimsley had 14 digs.

EP Tournament

The Crusaders spent Saturday in Eden Prairie, playing four games in the tournament hosted by the Eagles. After losing two matches to Alexandria and Eden Prairie, LHS rallied to take their last two against Bloomington Jefferson and Robbinsdale Armstrong.

“Was a super finish to the day,” Joelle Grimsley said. “Crusaders finished strong and played very well together.”

The Crusaders begin the conference tonight at Norwood Young America.