By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
Overall, the Lady Knights volleyball team had a successful week.
It began with a 3-0 loss at Delano. Coach Ryan Dehnel said that the Knights played well, but ultimately made too many unforced errors at the wrong time. The silver lining was that the Knights did some good things and proved that they could score and defend against a top level team if the focus is more consistent.
Freya Macari-Hanson and Laura Sukalski led the Knights with nine kills. Malissa LeClaire led with 30 assists. Meagan Ghinter and Macari-Hanson had 14 digs each.
On Thursday, STMA hosted the Princeton Tigers and got the sweep. The Lady Knights won the first two sets, taking control of the match heading into the third set. However, the Tigers did not go away easily in set #3. Princeton led 17-13 when the Knights began a rally. First, it was 17-17. Then it was 20-17. The Knights finally put the set, and the match, away at 25-20.
Coach Dehnel said that he played some of his reserves to test them in the third set.
“We just needed to settle down a little bit and remember that we can execute well enough to win in that situation,” Dehnel said. He noted that he was pleased at his players for working through adversity in order to put the final set away.
Dehnel also praised the crowd.
“They’re like our seventh player every time we play at home. They get into the match, they cheer well for us, they find ways to get some enthusiasm in and try and get us to rally and cheer loud when we’re playing well. We’re very fortunate to have such a good fanbase,” he said.
Knights perform well at Hopkins tournament
The Knights won three straight matchups on Saturday before losing to the host team at the Hopkins Tournament. Coach Dehnel said that his team responded well in pressure situations against Albert Lea and Park Center. STMA beat both teams in two sets.
Against Hopkins, the Knights lost the first set, but coach Dehnel applauded his team for coming back and winning the second set after losing. STMA lost the final set 14-16, but showed a competitiveness and grit that Dehnel had not seen in the past. He said the girls took a huge couple of steps over the weekend and need to build on them during the final three weeks of the season.
LeClaire led with 9 aces (Ghinter had 7), Macari-Hanson had 34 kills (Courtney Wooters had 22, Sukalski had 20), Maddie Albrecht and Wooters had 4.5 blocks, LeClaire had 101 assists in total, and Kate Drimel had 47 digs (Macari-Hanson had 27 and Ghinter had 24).
The Knights played at Bethlehem Academy on Tuesday.