NEW ULM - After starting the season off with three straight road losses, the New Ulm volleyball team was looking to pick up a win in its home opener.
The 1-6 Waseca Bluejays played hard in all three sets, but it was the Eagles coming up big at the end as they earned the sweep 26-24, 26-24, 25-23 in South Central Conference action.
"It was nice to be home," New Ulm head coach Chris Otto said. "It was a win in a couple different ways tonight. We really struggled with errors on the road for our first three matches and we did a lot better with that tonight. We had positive kill percentage for the first match this year and we didn't quit."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Katie Forst blocks the spike attempt of Waseca’s Katie Miller Tuesday at New Ulm High School.
In the second set, after narrowly winning its first set of the season, New Ulm pounced all over the Bluejays and took a quick 10-1 lead.
It looked like the Eagles were on their way to taking a 2-0 advantage, but costly errors and miscommunications on the home side allowed the Bluejays to bounce back and take a 13-12 lead.
Waseca was on the verge of knotting things up when it took a 24-22 lead, but the Eagles refused to back down.
Two consecutive kills by Katie Forst gave New Ulm a 25-24 lead and then an ace by sophomore Briana Sieve sealed it and put New Ulm in the driver's seat to win its first match of season.
Once again, New Ulm had no problem early on in the third set as it built a comfortable 19-11 lead - forcing Waseca to take a desperation timeout.
But once again, New Ulm fell apart and the Bluejays stepped on the gas pedal and went on a huge run to take a 23-21 lead.
Down, but not out, it was yet again New Ulm shutting the door, this time from the play of its seniors.
A pair of kills by Sarah Nelsen gave the Eagles a 24-23 lead and a huge ace on the following serve locked up the win for New Ulm.
Alley Grejtek led New Ulm with 11 kills and 19 set assists while Forst and Lizzie Rummel each had seven kills. Sieve had 13 digs and seniors Sydney Shuck and Bree Friedman added 10 digs and 13 set assists, respectively.
"Bree Friedman is setting this year as a senior and she did a really nice job tonight," Otto said. "She has definitely improved since the first match of the season. We have the players out there to do really well this season, it's just a matter of getting the experience and putting things together."
New Ulm will travel to Blue Earth Area on Thursday.