While Southwest Christian once again separated the Mayer Lutheran volleyball team from a state tournament appearance this season, there was plenty to be proud of during the Crusaders’ 13-16-2 year.
The season began strongly as the Crusaders defeated Bloomington Jefferson and Robbinsdale Armstrong in an Eden Prairie tournament in late August. In late September, Mayer Lutheran would go 2-2-2 in the Class A Showcase, picking up wins over Dawson-Boyd and Wabasha-Kellogg. October brought another 2-2 tournament at Chaska, where LHS defeated Stillwater Area and Cretin-Derham Hall.
Defeating conference teams LeSueur-Henderson, Watertown-Mayer, Tri-City United, and Sibley East during the season, the Crusaders finished third in the Minnesota River Conference with their 4-3 record.
After defeating Hmong Academy and Nova Classical Academy in the early rounds of the Section 4A tournament, the Crusaders fell to No. 1 Southwest Christian in the semifinals.
LHS head coach Joelle Grimsley said the team had many themes this year that helped to guide LHS through the season.
“We talking about Shining on and off the court as volleyball players and Christians,” she said. “We had another theme that talked about the Voice of Truth and working together as individuals … we talked about Making a Difference … our last theme of the year dealt with the whole concept of Mission Possible.”
Grimsley said that each player had a mission on the court and in life.
“We all have a job/mission to do on the court … pass, set, hit, serve, block … so take care of your individual missions everyday in our lives!” she said. “Our relationships in volleyball grew along with our leadership skills.”
Although the Crusaders didn’t reach their goal of making the state tournament, there were plenty of other goals that were achieved.
“We as a team felt that we conquered many of our other goals that were very important and that the memories along the way will be there for a lifetime,” Grimsley said.
She added that the senior leadership in Sam Bartz, Jessi Grimsley, Rachel Schmidt, Lauren Schroeder, and Shelby Sicheneder will be missed, along with the hard work the seniors brought to the court.
But in their stead, juniors Maddie Bakken, Christina Erdmann, and Maria Kuntz are poised to take over, along with sophomores Lynnea Marlatt, Maddy Miller, Kalie Winter, and Rachel Zittergruen, and freshman Rachel Roepke.
After being named to the Class A Showcase All-Tournament team early in the season, Rachel Schmidt went on to win both All-Conference and All-State Honors, while Maria Kuntz received All-Conference Honorable Mention honors.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]