Busy as always, the Mayer Lutheran volleyball team split matches during the week last week, and then played six matches in a weekend tournament. The Crusaders are now 2-1 in the Minnesota River Conference, with an overall record of 6-8-2.
Osseo 3, Mayer 0
Hosting undefeated Osseo on Sept. 17, the Orioles made quick work of LHS in three sets, defeating the Crusaders 25-12, 25-13, and 25-12.
According to the latest coach’s poll, Osseo is ranked No. 7 in Class AAA and currently holds an undefeated 10-0 record.
“Osseo put on pressure from the very beginning and they were able to capitalize on our mistakes,” LHS head coach Joelle Grimsley said. “They are a very strong team who played very well … our goal is to rebound quickly and learn about taking care and control of things that we can control.”
As a team, the Crusaders had just 14 kills with 11 assists. Serving was at 83 percent (20-24) and defensively, LHS picked up 19 digs.
Mayer 3, Tri-City 1
Thursday night, Sept. 19, the Crusaders played their third conference game of the season, this time at Tri-City United, where LHS emerged the victors in a 3-1 match.
Winning the first set 25-19, dropped set No. 2 19-25, and then rallying for sets three and four 25-12 and 25-17, Grimsley said the team decided to continue to improve each time they stepped on the floor, not only in skill, but in the dynamics of the game.
“As each game goes on, it becomes an emotional roller coaster for all involved,” she said. “As a young team, sometimes we got a bit crazy on the floor so trying to relax is something we are working on.”
Grimsley said the Crusaders worked well at powering through rough patches during the game, and were able to slow down the ball via blocks against the Titans.
With a kill efficiency of 317, the Mayer Lutheran offense was able to knock down 47 kills, with 27 coming from the hot hands of senior Rachel Schmidt. Junior Maria Kuntz had nine kills, while senior Shelby Sicheneder had four, and sophomore Kalie Winter added two. Winter (16), senior Lauren Schroeder (18), and sophomore Rachel Zittergruen (5) collected the team’s 39 assists.
Serving sat at 86 percent (73-85) with five aces. Solid service nights came from Zittergruen (8-9), junior Maddie Bakken (5-5), senior Jessi Grimsley (13-14), and Sicheneder (7-7).
On defense, Schmidt had three of the team’s six blocks, while Kuntz also had a block. Dig leaders included Sicheneder (15) and Grimsley (12).
Competing in the Class A Showcase tournament over the weekend, the Crusaders began tournament play with three matches Friday, Sept. 20 and would face many Class A ranked teams over the course of the weekend.
Mayer Lutheran split its first match with Fillmore Central 26-24, 16-25, before also splitting a match with Nevis (25-14, 17-25). The Crusaders capped the evening with a 25-19, 27-25 win over Dawson-Boyd. Because of the split matches and the point system for the tournament, the Crusaders were then placed in the Gold Division for Saturday.
Mayer Lutheran began Saturday by taking on Win-E-Mac. Winning the first set 25-21, the Crusaders narrowly lost the second 25-27 and the third 15-17.
The tides changed for LHS in the Crusaders’ next match up against Wabasha-Kellogg, which LHS won 2-1 (26-24, 12-25, 15-12).
“Great win for the Crusaders and did not just roll over after a very poor performance in Set 2,” Grimsley said. “I was very proud of how they responded and fought back.”
LHS capped the tournament by facing off against Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and lost 18-25 and 16-25. Grimsley said it seemed like LHS never found its rhythm during the match.
“Tracy was a great team that kept the pressure on the whole time and we were not able to get any runs going in these games,” she said.
But with some solid tournament experience under their belts, Grimsley said the Crusaders are ready for their upcoming matches, hosting Watertown and at No. 4 (1A) Bethlehem Academy next week.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com