The Mayer Lutheran volleyball team went up against two state-ranked teams last week. The Crusaders held their own, but would eventually fall to both Bethlehem Academy and Minnesota River Conference opponent Belle Plaine.
Falling to Bethlehem Academy 3-0 on Oct. 8, the Crusaders narrowly lost each set 25-19, 25-23, and 25-22. LHS head coach Joelle Grimsley said Bethlehem is a strong defensive team that stopped the Crusaders from getting the jump.
“I felt like we had a chance tonight to beat Bethlehem Academy if we could have kept our errors down,” Grimsley said. “We did not finish as strong as we hoped tonight but definitely had some great rallies and never gave up the fight.”
In set one, play went back and forth. Tied at 15-15, Bethlehem Academy had a four-point run that the Crusaders could not recover from. Mayer Lutheran held a lead in set No. 2, but Bethlehem Academy had smart play to keep the ball alive, Grimsley said. The Crusaders were up 12-6 in set No. 3 and kept a lead at 17-14, but Bethlehem capitalized on a few Crusader errors to tie the set at 22-22 and then take the win.
The Crusaders had 38 total kills, 18 of which came from senior Rachel Schmidt. Other kill leaders included Maria Kuntz (7), Shelby Sicheneder (5), Kalie Winter (3), and Sam Bartz (2). Winter (19) and senior Lauren Schroeder (13) led the team in assists. Schroeder (18-18), Sicheneder (11-11), and Bartz (6-6) all had perfect serving nights.
On defense, Kuntz had all three of the team’s blocks. With 52 total digs, Sicheneder (18), Jessi Grimsley (16), and Schmidt (8) kept the back line clean.
On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Crusaders fell to Belle Plaine 3-1. Mayer Lutheran is now 9-11-2 overall this season and is currently third in the MRC with a 4-2 record. The regular season wraps up this weekend at a Chaska tournament and early next week against New Life Academy.
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