Prep volleyball: Windom Area wears down St. Clair, wins 3-0
WINDOM — Windom Area volleyball coach Ron Wendorff remembered it vividly. St. Clair took an early 7-2 advantage over his Eagles Thursday night in 2A south sub-section quarterfinal action. It made him uneasy.
The coach was just about to call a timeout, but he wouldn’t need to. Windom (17-9) took advantage of an error and, little by little, chipped away. Things came easier as the night went on for the blue-and-gold and Windom Area earned a sweep, advancing along the tournament trek. Sets went 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 in Windom’s favor.
“It was a case of jitters. We were down early, and I remember it well,” Wendorff said. “I asked my assistant whether I should call a timeout. She told me (to wait) one more point. Then they had that error that made it 7-3.”
From that point on, Windom senior Kelsey Hanefeld put down four straight kills to bring her team back even at 7-7. The Eagles then were able to draw their opponents out of rhthym and take control of the match.
“(Kelsey) kind of set the tempo for the rest of the night. We keep telling our kids we need someone to step up and make plays for us,” Wendorff said. “As the night went on, our kids relaxed and we started to play a little better volleyball.”
The Eagles led 6-2 in the second set on an ace serve from junior Hannah Redmond and a kill from eighth-grader Porsha Porath. St. Clair then worked its way back into the match and trailed by just one, at 10-9, but it would be as close as they would come. Windom’s Michaela Hacker, Porath, and Hanefeld all led a balanced team effort that, all in all, wore down St. Clair.
By the time the third set came around, the Eagles would have enough to make a 20-7 advantage. St. Clair rallied but still didn’t have enough to keep the night going. The damage had been done. Windom senior Rachel Sorensen carried her team with seven kills in that closing set, helping to earn the straight sets win.
“I thought Porsha did a nice job putting balls down on the blocks. We have to have that from her and have her control the middle of the net when she is in there,” Wendorff commented. “We need some other kids to step up and make plays too.”
Windom senior Miki Bolin orchestrated the charge offensively with 30 assists. She set up a team-best 14 kills for Sorensen. Madison Maras was 16-for-16 with three aces from the service line, junior Jasmine Carlson had three aces, and Redmond provided two aces for the Eagles.
Porath had a hand in five blocks to lead the team defensively at the net and Sorensen had a hand in four. Carlson had 16 digs and Hanefeld came up with six.
Windom Area now travels to St. Peter Tuesday night for a meeting in that evening’s night cap, in the semifinals, against Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial. LCWM (25-4) was a winner of a sweep Thursday night over Mountain Lake Area. Scores were 25-14, 25-12, 25-17.
Going forward, the thoughts from Wendorff are quite simple.
“We’re in tournament time now,” he said. “We need to start step up now and start playing some Eagle volleyball.”