PREP VOLLEYBALL: Rebels outdual Quasars

LUVERNE -- All Abby Van Meveren wanted to do was play on the floor of Southwest Minnesota State University. After an intense volleyball match between Van Meveren's Murray County Central Rebels and Southwest Star Concept Monday night, the senior i...

MCC's Van Meveren
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe MCC's Abby Van Meveren (13) puts the ball between SSC's Alyssa Hendrickson (8) and Mandy Henkels during Monday's volleyball match in Luverne.

LUVERNE -- All Abby Van Meveren wanted to do was play on the floor of Southwest Minnesota State University.

After an intense volleyball match between Van Meveren's Murray County Central Rebels and Southwest Star Concept Monday night, the senior is getting her wish.

"It's been so many years at our school since somebody's made it to the college to play," Van Meveren said following the Rebels' 3-2 victory. "It's awesome. I've always wanted to play there; our team wanted to play there. That was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, and we made it."

A senior for MCC, Van Meveren finished with 10 kills on the night, but it was a freshman who sealed the victory.

With the score tied at 15-all in the decisive Game 5, Van Meveren had a kill, giving MCC a game-point opportunity.


Enter Kristi Bose.

A freshman middle hitter, Bose had the opportunity to put the match away.

"I saw it open and it looked like a good place to go," Bose said. "They missed it and I was right."

Bose tipped over the SSC block and past a diving defender, sending the Rebels to a 25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 25-10, 17-15 victory.

"Right as it dropped, I was just ecstatic," Van Meveren said. "I got teary. I wanted to make it to Marshall so bad, I got a little teary-eyed."

In an epic battle between the two teams, the Rebels jumped out to a 5-2 leadin Game 1 after a tip by Brooklyn Schmitz (27 set assists).

With MCC leading 14-12 midway through the first game, the Rebels rattled off a 9-3 run, as three straight hits by Van Meveren capped the run, propelling MCC to a 25-19 victory.

But the Quasars (23-8) rallied in Game 2.


Katey Granstra (14 kills) had an early kill and teammate Jennifer Schmidt (11 kills) followed as SSC took the lead.

The Rebels would build a 13-8 lead after an ace by Ashley Woldt, but the Quasars started a comeback.

Alyssa Hendrickson (four blocks) had a kill to break the tie, and after a kill by Schmidt and an ace by Mandy Henkels (12 digs, 21 set assists), SSC took the lead for good in a 25-23 victory.

"We had times where we didn't serve well, we didn't serve receive well, but the kids battled through and they attacked," SSC head coach Cindy Owen said. "I've been telling them all year that we're an attacking team, so we have to make sure we can pass the ball, get it up to our setters and then attack. We didn't always do that and that's when we struggled. When we did that, we played very well."

SSC continued to be on the offensive in the third game.

But again, it took a few points for the Quasars to find their rhythm.

Three straight errors by MCC gave SSC a 12-10 lead and an ace by Maddie Rasche (25 digs) gave SSC a three-point advantage.

The Quasars had as much as a six-point lead (19-13) en route to the 25-19 victory and a 2-1 match lead.


Despite the deficit, MCC was far from done.

"A lot of it is our captains and the leadership who step up and say a lot," MCC head coach Kati Newgard said. "You can tell when they get back out there and play with confidence. Even when we're down 2-1, they don't play too uptight. They still play with confidence. In our last game with Red Rock Central, it was 33-31, and we still played with confidence. It's something about how they are out there and their chemistry together, they don't let up and they keep fighting."

Facing a win-or-be-done Game 4, the Rebels responded.

"We said we wanted to prove something," Van Meveren said. "We were undefeated in the conference and we got first in our conference and they got seeded No. 2 and we were No. 3. We said, 'Let's show them who should be No. 2.' That's what we said in the huddle, we need to show them who is No. 2 and why we're better."

Behind a long service run by Makenzie Giese (15 kills, four ace serves), the Rebels built a 13-3 lead in Game 4.

"We struggled," Owen said of Game 4. "We started out very slow again. I don't think we were over confident. In volleyball, it's such a fast-moving game, you can not lose sight of anything. You have to stay focused the entire game. MCC came out hard and strong and we had trouble serve receiving. Consequently, we kind of took it in the shorts there."

SSC couldn't get back in the game, and after a kill by Macy Halbur, a nice serve by Elissa Reinsma (19 digs) gave MCC a 25-10 victory.

"They are a tough team," Van Meveren said. "We're pretty much equal. We would get a point, and they would rally back. We just had to be strong. We pulled together and we said, 'We need to do this. We need to pull together and work as a team.' That's what we did."


The critical win gave the Rebels confidence and left the Quasars to regroup for a decisive Game 5.

"We have some great senior leadership and Kelli Schmitz came out and her motto for the whole year has been, 'Race to 15,'" Owen said. "We've had quite a few five-game battles. We were ready to go, race to 15, and it didn't work out for us."

The teams traded points back and forth throughout Game 5, but with SSC leading 11-10, it got a boost.

Granstra -- who was injured in Game 4 -- re-entered for the Quasars, sending a shot of momentum through the team.

"Katey Granstra showed a lot of guts for us coming back in," Owen said. "I wasn't sure I was going to play her. The trainer was sitting right behind us and I asked her if she felt she could go. The trainer had taken her out in the hall and said she could jump and she felt she was capable of playing. I trusted what the trainer said. She sure came out strong and had a couple of nice kills and showed that her senior leadership shines through until the end."

She quickly made her impact felt, coming up with a key kill, which gave the Quasars a 13-12 lead.

"Their crowd got into it and you could just tell there was a little sigh of relief from the girls seeing her step back on the court," Newgard said. "But we're used to those close games and I guess that's how we like to play them."

With the score tied at 15, the Rebels won the next two points, capped by Bose's well-placed tip.


"It feels really good knowing that we're going on and we're not losing," Bose said. "It's a great feeling."

Now, the Rebels (20-4-3) will face top-seeded Windom at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at SMSU in Marshall.

"We've seen them, we played them at the Subway Classic tournament," Newgard said. "We watched them today and hopefully we'll have a plan of attack and work on that the next couple of days."

In that tournament earlier this year, the Eagles defeated MCC, but not without a fight.

"We played with them," Newgard said. "I think that's going to be huge for the girls to know that we played with them."

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