MW VOLLEYBALL: Lady Jays breeze by CyclonesWORTHINGTON — The Lady Jay volleyball team defeated the St. Cloud Tech Cyclones 3-0 on the back of 18 kills by Katey Granstra Saturday in Worthington.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Lady Jay volleyball team defeated the St. Cloud Tech Cyclones 3-0 on the back of 18 kills by Katey Granstra Saturday in Worthington.
“I am very excited with the win,” MW coach Marie Johnson said. “Overall the girls played very well.”
Minnesota West took an early 6-2 lead in the first game on the back of a kill by Granstra, a block by Lindsey Drooger and two side outs by St. Cloud Tech.
“Our passes were right on in those first two sets,” Mara Eichenberger said. “That helped out the sets a lot to get our hitters some big hits. That got the momentum going for the game.”
The Lady Jays continued to roll, scoring 10 of the next 16 points on the Cyclones to go ahead 16-8. During the run, Brittany Hulstein had three kills and a block to extend MW’s lead.
“The first two games, the girls were moving as a team and our blocks were where they were supposed to be,” Johnson said. “All of the elements of what we have been working on were there today. They were there in the first two sets for sure.”
After St. Cloud Tech scored the next point, MW rattled off four straight points to go up 20-9.
However, the Cyclones tried to push their way back into the game by taking four points out of six to reduce the Lady Jay’s lead to single digits.
But, in the end, MW’s offense was too much for St. Cloud Tech. The Lady Jays took the game 25-14 to go up one set to none.
“We’ve worked on moving as a team,” Johnson said. “In the first two sets, they did a really good job of moving as a team. They were excited, moving quickly and staying low.”
The Lady Jays jumped out to a 9-2 lead early in Game 2 thanks to four kills by Granstra along with an ace by Eichenberger (4 aces, 51 set assists, six digs).
MW was also able to get their hands on the ball with blocks from their frontline players, even getting an ace block from Granstra.
“In practice we have worked a lot on blocking recently,” Johnson said. “Our blocks were up there and we were getting touches on most of the balls coming over the net. We were also able to get some kill blocks, which is always a good thing.”
Game 2 quickly became a blowout, with the Cyclones unable to put up much of a fight.
The Lady Jays were able to pick up points almost at will, with Granstra, Drooger, Hulstein and Christine Kazemba all registering kills. Granstra alone had seven kills in Game 2, while Hulstein picking up two of her four aces in the set. The final score was 25-8 in favor of MW.
“When we play as a team everything is on,” Eichenberger said. “Our passes are always there when we work as a team. It gets us excited and keeps us wanting to get more.”
However, Game 3 didn’t go quite as smoothly for the Lady Jays as the first two .
MW jumped out to an early 13-7 lead, but costly errors and multiple side outs by the Lady Jays allowed the Cyclones to take their first lead of the match at 14-13.
“The third set, the girls seemed to be a little comfortable after such a commanding win in the second set,” Johnson said. “They came out a little more laid back than I would have liked to see them in the third one.”
Neither team was able to hold on to a lead very long as the game progressed, but eventually, MW was able to get a match point at 24-22. But St. Cloud Tech scored two straight points to tie the game.
“I do think, at the very start of the game, they just felt comfortable,” Johnson said. “They tried to push themselves and bring the intensity level up. But at that point it just went back and forth.”
In the end, the Lady Jays were able to force the Cyclones to commit back to back errors to take Game 3 27-25.
“I think they fought through it,” Johnson said. “I think the strength of the team and their cohesiveness is starting to show. They are able to help pick each other back up and get each other excited.”
Hulstein had a big game for MW, picking up nine kills, two blocks, four aces and 11 digs on the day. Kazemba had four kills of her own, while Madie Rasche added seven digs. Jes Hermeling and Ceilia Schmitz rounded out the offense with two aces a piece.
“We were always bringing our team up throughout the game,” Eichenberger said. “We were always there motivating each other and we never once got down on ourselves.”
The Lady Jays are off until Friday when they host the Anoka-Ramsey Golden Rams at 6:30 p.m. at Worthington High School.
Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi
may be reached at 376-7335.