SLEEPY EYE - The Sleepy Eye St. Mary's volleyball fans didn't have to worry about making it home in time for the 10 o'clock news Tuesday night.
Or the 9 o'clock version, for that matter.
The 10-12 Knights took care of a feisty Cedar Mountain/Comfrey Cougars squad in about 70 minutes, sweeping the 1-14 Cougars 25-23, 25-17, 25-13.
While it wasn't a study in perfect volleyball, Knights coach Nicole Jensen will take a victory after losing in four sets Monday night at New Ulm Cathedral.
"It's good to win," Jensen said. "We talked about having to win this one since it was a (Tomahawk Conference) match."
For the Cougars, the only solace may come from head coach Tami Martin's assessment of CM/C's skill set since the beginning of the year.
"The improvement since the beginning of the year has been phenomenal," Martin said. "But we seem to plummet one set, usually the last one. They do so well at times, it's just the little things we need to improve on."
While the Knights won the first set, it's difficult to say they controlled it. Holding the lead throughout the set, they weren't able to sustain more than a three-point lead, hurting themselves with five errant serves. Four of them helped the Cougars eventually tie the game at 16-16, when Jensen called a timeout.
After that, consecutive kills from Becca Schmitz and three unforced errors by CM/C gave St. Mary's a 21-16 lead. Still, the Cougars fought back and came back to within one, 24-23, before a kill by Deonna Brinkman sealed the win.
The second set gave CM/C its best chance for a victory, as the Cougars fought and took two-point leads twice and forced eight ties until it was 12-12. An ace by Brinkman gave the Knights the first three-point lead by either squad at 16-13, but it wasn't until St. Mary's was up 17-15 that the Knights began to hit the stride that would carry into the third set.
With Maddy Helget behind the service line, St. Mary's rolled off five points in a row, including an ace. Two unforced Cougars errors and a tip kill from Andrea Schwartz put the Knights up 2-0.
The third set was all St. Mary's after they were up 10-9. Eight points in a row sealed CM/C's fate, with consecutive kills from Brinkman and Schmitz contributing to the 25-13 wrap-up.
For the Knights, Brinkman had nine kills, five blocks and an ace, with Schmitz adding eight kills and two blocks and Bethany Berkner ending with 21 set assists and eight digs.
The Cougars were led by five kills from Emily Ochs and three blocks by Karliana Kelly with three blocks.
St. Mary's hosts Truman at 7 p.m. Monday, while CM/C hosts New Ulm Cathedral at 7 p.m. Thursday.