Section 3A volleyball: MCC trips SWU in thrilling five-setter
WINDOM — Tuesday’s volleyball doubleheader in Windom solidified Section 3A’s semifinal round.
Those two teams will face off Thursday at Southwest State University in Marshall with the winner advancing to the section title match Saturday.
T-M-B 3, SWC 0
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton lived up to its No. 1 seed Tuesday evening with its win. The Panthers pulled off a sweep over Southwest Christian, pushing its season record to 20-12.
“We served aggressively and got them out of their system. That was our number one goal,” T-M-B coach Katie Gervais said. “We really spread our offense around. We knew they were a really good blocking team. They got their blocks, but for the most part, we spread it around.”
The Panthers led throughout their first set with SWC. The Eagles cut the deficit to within four points at two junctures in the frame but were left unable to close the gap. T-M-B sophomore Sarah Stoneberg pushed the lead to 21-13 with a kill, capping a 5-1 run and helping to widen the advantage.
SWC took an early lead in the second set courtesy of a block from junior Tianna Top. T-M-B junior Kassidy Przymus put down back-to-back kills, giving her team the lead for good.
The third set belonged to T-M-B, as the Panthers led by as many as 11 points early on. It was enough to survive a late Southwest Christian surge and claim the sweep.
T-M-B sophomore Jessie Nelson had 10 kills and Pryzmus had nine. Gabbie Gervais had 26 set assists. Stoneberg and Peterson each had three.
Anna Peterson had nine digs in an evenly spread defensive effort for the Panthers. Stoneberg collected six while Pryzmus and Sammie Gervais had five.
After the match, Peterson said she was proud of her young team’s accomplishments. The Panthers have no seniors. Peterson is one of three juniors.
“We worked our butts off and worked well together as a team,” Peterson said of her team’s win. “We just hope to continue to work hard in practice every day. We ended our regular season with some losses but are proud of what we’ve done in the playoffs. We’re excited to be moving on.”
The Eagles end their season at 18-9 and say goodbye to two seniors with the loss. Kassydi Vreeman, Alexis Knutson, and Ann Pater each collected six digs for SWC. Sydney Esselink had 15 set assists. Ann Pater contributed seven kills and three blocks to lead the team.
“It was a good season overall and we won a couple of our tournaments,” SWC coach Brian Busker said. “We finished third in conference. We didn’t know what to expect coming into this year considering how young we are. Our girls showed a lot of heart and a lot of grit out on the floor. We just didn’t play our best tonight, unfortunately.”
MCC 3, SWU 2
It was the same song but a different verse for Murray County Central and Southwestern United. In a late regular season match, Southwestern United won in five sets to clinch the Red Rock Conference outright. The fifth game went 15-13 in SWU’s favor.
Fast forward less than a month and Murray County Central scratched and clawed, this time weathering the five-set storm to advance past SWU.
“Coming out and winning that first set was huge for us, and I think if we hadn’t won that first set, it may have been a different story,” MCC coach Kati Bobeldyk said. “I honestly think our seniors stepped up with leadership. With all of them on the court, they just weren’t ready to be done.”
A back-and-forth match ensued as the Rebels easily won the first frame and SWU won an equally lopsided second set. The Rebels trailed 4-2 early in the third set and eventually tied it at 6-6. They would not look back. MCC senior McKenzie Schmitz laid down a kill to hand her team the lead for good.
SWU battled to a 26-24 win in the fourth set to send the match to a fifth frame. Tied at 10-10, senior Kristi Bose took control for MCC. The 5-8 middle hitter scored four of the match’s final five points to seal the deal.
“After they had beaten us we wanted some revenge,” Bose said after the match. “We played our hearts out and had to keep up our intensity. That was an exciting and stressful ending because everyone wanted it so bad. I’m excited we could pull through.”
Barritt had a team-best 16 kills for MCC with Bose turning in 15. Barritt had six blocks and Bose collected 19 digs. Hannah Schmidt and Dana Vander Wal each had 14 digs and three ace serves.
SWU’s season came to an end following a Red Rock Conference championship run. MCC’s only loss in the conference was its five set downfall to SWU.
Hailey Schumacher led SWU with 49 set assists. Place had 25 kills while Hinkeldey added 16. Kailey Wendland turned in one ace. Hinkeldey and Place were spotless servers for SWU. Wendland had 23 digs for SWU and Place collected 14.
“It was a good match tonight. It is tough to lose but we made a few too many errors,” SWU coach Christine Malm said. “You win some and you lose some. You learn from it. But, it was a good match.”