By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
The Lady Knights volleyball team (15-7, 8-0 in-conference) picked up 4 more wins last week, including a pair of crucial conference victories.
Tuesday, STMA faced St. Francis and got another home sweep. The Knights won a tough first set 25-21. The team hit quite a few shots past the out of bounds line, surrendering several points to the Saints as a result.
Despite the errors, Ryan Dehnel’s team won the second set 25-18 and the third 25-16.
“I didn’t think we played really consistently, but we made plays when we had to. We played better the second half of each of the sets, which is something we’ve been doing a better job of lately,” Dehnel said, noting that his team made just enough plays to win.
Dehnel said his girls are finding their groove after rattling off victories in several of the past matches on the season and that they need to sustain that groove with the end of the season approaching.
Coach Dehnel felt his team’s confidence soared very high during the recent hot streak.
“I think the girls are excited, they’re finding that groove. We’ve just got to sustain it now that we’re getting close to the end of the season,” he said.
Thursday saw the Knights welcome the Big Lake Hornets to the gym. STMA took control quickly, winning the first set 25-13 and the second 25-11. Big Lake fought hard in the third set and managed to steal it. However, the Knights took control back from the Hornets and dispatched them in the fourth and final set, 25-16.
Over the weekend, the Knights hosted the STMA Classic. During the weekend, STMA lost three out of five matchups played in the tournament. The victories came against Simley (2-0) and Moorhead (2-0) and the Knights lost to Waconia (0-2), Rosemount (1-2) and Totino-Grace (1-2).
Dehnel said his team competed in each match. Against Simley, the team found its groove after working through some early struggles. The Waconia match got away from the Knights, Dehnel said.
The same problems doomed STMA against Rosemount and Totino Grace.
“We would play at a high level for one whole set and parts of the other two, but were lacking the edge to deliver the knockout punch at the end of the match,” Dehnel said. He called the victory against Moorhead a great team effort.
The Knights played at Buffalo for the conference championship (Buffalo was also 8-0 entering the match) on Tuesday. They finish the regular season tonight at Blaine in a non-conference match.
Thursday’s stat leaders: Kate Drimel (16 digs, four aces), Malissa LeClaire (four aces, 26 assists, one block, nine digs), Meagan Ghinter (three aces, 10 kills, seven digs), Courtney Wooters (seven kills), Maddie Albrecht (one block), Rae Arns (seven kills, one block) and Taylor Zopfi (15 assists).
Tournament stat leaders:
Aces: LeClaire and Drimel (seven each), Hannah Merges (six)
Kills: Freya Macari-Hanson (30), Wooters (23), Albrecht (19), Laura Sukalski (16)
Blocks: Wooters (four), Albrecht (three)
Digs: Drimel (51), Merges (32), LeClaire and Ghinter (29 each), Hanson (24)
Assists: LeClaire (98)