By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
Ever since losing three of five matches at the Southwest Minnesota Challenge one month ago, the STMA volleyball team has caught fire. The Knights sat at 3-4 after that tournament. In the ensuing weeks, STMA has won ten out of twelve matches, building a 13-6 record going into Tuesday night’s matchup against St. Francis.
The latest victories came against Bethlehem Academy and Rogers. Against the Cardinals, STMA played a solid night of team volleyball, according to head coach Ryan Dehnel. Dehnel said the girls did a great job of adjusting defensively as the match went on.
“I was really proud of the energy our team played with and the way we battled back, even when they scored a few points in a row,” he said.
Dehnel noted that the match was a good step forward for the team.
Aces: Hannah Merges (4), Abby Scherber (3)
Kills: Laura Sukalski (11), Freya Hanson (9), Maddie Albrecht (6)
Assists: Malissa LeClaire (34)
Digs: Meagan Ghinter (17), Kate Drimel and LeClaire (16 each)
Royals in 3 sets
Rogers High School was the site of STMA’s next victory, a three set sweep of a Royals team that battled hard in each set.
“Rogers always comes out aggressive against us, no matter how each of us is doing, and they did it again Thursday,” Dehnel said.
Dehnel said his team did not have its most consistent effort of the season, but it did a good job of settling down and finishing each set after Rogers made a run. He said that the Rogers crowd played a part, creating a great atmosphere for the home team.
“We came in and just said, this is going to be a hostile environment.”
Dehnel said that it was good to take this match in three sets and that the upcoming week would be a busy one with two regular home matches and the Midwest Fall Classic, which STMA hosts over the weekend.
STMA played the first home match against St. Francis on Tuesday. The Knights play again tonight against the Big Lake Hornets.
Aces: Drimel (4), LeClaire and Ghinter (2 each)
Kills: Albrecht and Hanson (8 each), Missy Hackenmueller (7)
Assists: LeClaire (27
Blocks: Bree Goenner (2.5), Hanson (2)
Digs: Drimel (17), Merges (14)