Lady Jays fierce against outstanding MState team, finally fall in five sets
The Minnesota West volleyball team acquitted itself admirably Saturday against a team ranked sixth in the nation
WORTHINGTON -- From the very outset, it was obvious that the Minnesota West Lady Jays intended not only to play well against the powerful MState-Fergus Falls Spartans Saturday afternoon, but to win.
And they almost did, too. But the Spartans, ranked No. 6 nationally in NJCAA Division 3, overcame losses in the first two sets to win the last three and force the Jays to satisfy themselves with a near miss at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington.
It was a hard setback for the West volleyballers to square against their strong effort. They were fierce and determined. Scores were 25-22, 25-14, 23-25, 25-27, 9-15.
“I think we all worked together and we all wanted it. And we were having fun,” said Katarina Polzine, a freshman middle hitter from Adrian. “We needed to block up, and we needed just to play together and support each other. And we just had fun. And we showed that we were having fun.”
MState came into the contest sitting atop the MCAC Southern Division with a perfect 7-0 record, and the Lady Jays were 3-3 in division action and 7-10 overall. But for most of the game, it looked as if those records should have been reversed. The Jays, who have improved steadily, took charge early and could have easily won three straight.
After the match, Polzine said she’s become more aggressive this year as a player. She could have easily said that about the entire Minnesota West squad. And they weren’t just aggressive on Saturday, they moved together like a single organism. They won more than their share of balls at the net, they served consistently, and they defended with an impressive athleticism that put MState off its guard.
“We just have confidence in each other now, and not just in ourselves,” Polzine said. “It’s gonna give us motivation, because we know we can play with a team like that.”
Polzine was 27-for-29 serving on Saturday with three aces. She also had 12 digs and nine kills.
Her teammates’ statistics were just as impressive. Kennedy Buckneberg had 23 digs and 13 kills. Kiarra Danielson contributed 17 digs, five blocks, 10 kills and 17 set assists. Hattie DeVries added six more kills.
Sophomore Dannyn Peterson, who along with freshman teammate Sophie Larson were honored before the match as queen and princess during Homecoming Week, had 12 kills, 10 digs and seven blocks. Larson was 28-for-30 serving with three aces.
Courtney Moser had 12 digs and 27 set assists. Sami Polzin had 16 digs and nine kills.
The Lady Jays return to the court on Monday in a triangular meet in Worthington. They play Briar Cliff JV at 3:30 p.m. and take on Gustavus Adolphus JV at 7:30 p.m.