By Jake Schroer
Crow River News sports
On the road, in a hostile environment, the Lady Knights volleyball team fell victim to a sweep at the hands of the Osseo Orioles.
The loss ended STMA’s season, which saw them make it to the section semifinal, just one round short of last year’s finals trip.
The Knights battled valiantly in each set, but the result remained the same. The Knights lost the first set 25-19. After a similarly paced second set, the Knights lost 25-17. Something needed to change in the third set as it did against Mounds View.
Just six days earlier, the Knights fell behind 2-0 to the Mustangs and rallied back for a 3-2 win in the quarterfinal. Osseo made sure it did not slip up in the same way by taking nine of the first 10 points in set three.
The Orioles kept the Knights behind by double digits for most of the third set, prevailing 25-11 for the sweep and the victory. Osseo won its next match later in the week to advance to the state tournament.
Coach Dehnel felt his team panicked against a very good Osseo squad and made some mistakes it could not afford to make.
“Credit to them, they did some things we hadn’t had to defend all year, they served the ball tougher than anyone we played all year, and applied enough pressure to make us crack, and unfortunately we couldn’t quite get back on our game,” he said.
Dehnel praised his girls for working hard through a tough schedule.
“The kids did a nice job. We found our gear at the right time, beating Mounds View. This was just playing a really, really good team. There’s a reason they’re ranked at the top of the state, because they’re that good and they’re that balanced.”
Dehnel said his team plans to celebrate its seniors at the volleyball banquet on November 17. He also plans to talk things over about next season with returning players.
“It’s always hard, because so many of the teams’ seasons end in a loss, but there were a lot of good things that went on during the season this year, so we’ll take some time and reflect on all the stuff that we enjoyed.”
STMA’s loss ended a season which saw the Lady Knights improve on last season’s record by one match. Osseo defeated the Knights in postseason play for the second year in a row.
In the final match of the season, stat leaders were Kaitlin Olson (2) and Meagan Ghinter (1) in aces, Courtney Wooters (8) and Freya Macari-Hanson (7) in kills, Malissa LeClaire (19) in assists, Kate Drimel (15), Hanson (8) and Ghinter (8) in digs.