Highly-touted Rochester sweeps Lady Jays in three
WORTHINGTON -- It is perhaps because head coach Brittney McNab expects so much more out of her Minnesota West Lady Jays that she seemed especially miffed at Monday night’s 3-0 volleyball loss to Rochester at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington.
Rochester is a very good volleyball team, ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA preseason poll. The Jays played the Yellowjackets almost even in the first game on Monday and came back from a 14-6 deficit to within a point of tying the score 24-24 in the third game.
But it wasn’t enough. Rochester won in a sweep, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-23.
Certainly, McNab said after the match, she expects a better result from the 2022 Lady Jays. “We’ve got girls that can play all six positions on the floor,” said the coach.
After winning their season opener, West went 2-2 last weekend at a tournament in Coon Rapids, beating Northland and Alexandria Tech but losing to Itasca and Iowa Lakes. McNab was less than thrilled at that outcome, too, saying her team looked “lost” at times. Maybe it was because it was the squad’s first road trip, or maybe it was because of the awkward timing of some of the matchups. Still, it could be better.
On Monday, Minnesota West’s final statistics looked less than complete -- that’s what happens when the match goes only three games. Sophomore right-side hitter Dannyn Peterson led the team with six kills while Kennedy Buckneberg and Sami Polzin both had five. Kierra Danielson had nine set assists and Courtney Moser had five. Buckneberg came up with 10 digs while Jaenid Torres had six and Peterson four.
Rochester is too good a team to give free balls to, and that’s why McNab said the Lady Jays couldn’t keep pace.
“We gave them a lot of free balls, and they scored on every free ball that we gave ‘em. They had their backs every ball,” she said.
In the third game, however -- after the Yellowjackets scored nine straight points to overcome a 6-5 West lead, the Jays kept fighting. A Hattie DeVries ace tip brought West within four at 19-15, and then it was 19-16. Rochester threatened to coast to the finish line when it led 22-16, but the Jays crept closer and could’ve evened the score at 24-all with one more point. But the 25th point came across on a hard Kennedy Hady crosscourt ace hit.
McNab was reminded that it showed some grit for the Lady Jays to pull so close at the end.
“But you know what happened?” she pointed out. “We gave them the free ball on the 24th point, and they knew exactly what to do with it.”
If there was a theme to Monday’s match for Minnesota West, it was that this team can do a lot better. McNab says the team needs to show more communication, more movement, and more aggression -- something they showed in preseason practices and in the season’s first match, a 3-2 win over Dakota State JV.