SLEEPY EYE - When the Sleepy Eye and New Ulm Cathedral volleyball teams last met on Oct. 2, the Indians prevailed in a thrilling five-set victory.
The Greyhounds were eager to turn the tables in the rematch, winning Monday's non-conference match between the two sides in a 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 sweep.
"We lost in five that conference game, it was a close match that last one, and we just wanted to come out tonight and prove that we can do more, that we're the better team, and I think we did that by winning all three games," Cathedral head coach Stef Dietz said. "I think we served the ball well, we passed the ball well and we attacked, and that was the big thing, to just keep attacking the ball and being aggressive at the net."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye’s Claire Krumbach (19) blocks a spike from New Ulm Cathedral’s MacKinnon Ehlenz Monday at Sleepy Eye High School.
With the Indians celebrating their Senior Night, they rebounded after dropping the first two sets to pull out to a big lead in the third set, only to have the Greyhounds chase them down to complete the sweep.
Cathedral never trailed in the first set, though Sleepy Eye didn't let the Greyhounds ever pull away for a big lead.
The Indians started all five of their seniors - Tiffany Ludewig, Emily Curtis, Tia Cselovszki, Justine Bleick and Sam Krebsbach - and each of the five recorded at least one kill, ace block or ace serve in the opening set.
"It was just a lot of fun - I actually don't know if I've ever played with all the seniors on the court," Cselovszki said. "It was just so much fun that we could still be competitive and play as our whole senior class. I had a lot of fun that game."
After a kill by Shelby Forst ended the first set for Cathedral, Sleepy Eye rebounded to build a 3-0 lead to begin set two.
The Greyhounds responded with a 7-1 run that included a kill and a pair of aces by Karlee Pfaff, after which the visitors proceeded to take a commanding lead.
MacKinnon Ehlenz paced the Cathedral attack in the second set, earning four kills, and ace block and an ace serve. Senior Lisa Helget provided her fourth kill of the set on set point.
"We were missing one of our key players, Kristin Mohr, we made a switch and we knew that we had to win it for her, and we had to play as a team and keep going," Ehlenz said. "I knew I had to put the ball down so we could get some points, and I knew that I had to do it for my team. I couldn't do it without my teammates."
The Indians pulled out to a 4-0 lead in the third set, only to see a six-point service run by Pfaff that included a pair of aces give the Greyhounds the lead.
However, from that point on things started clicking for the home side, with Curtis and Krebsbach bolstering the Indians with a pair of ace blocks each to help them build up a 19-11 lead.
The momentum then switched almost entirely to Cathedral, with back-to-back kills by Ehlenz sparking a comeback that tied the score at 20-20.
Sleepy Eye's Claire Krumbach followed with a kill to give her team hope, but the visitors took five of the final six points to seal the sweep.
Leading the way statistically for the Indians were Krumbach (eight kills, three ace blocks), Selena Roman (five digs), Curtis (four ace blocks), Krebsbach (three ace blocks) and Miranda McMullen (eight set assists).
The Greyhounds were led by Helget (14 kills), Paige Pautzke (24 set assists, two aces), Pfaff (five aces) and Ehlenz (10 kills).
Sleepy Eye (4-16-1) will now get a break before opening its playoff campaign.
"The ending wasn't quite how we had planned, but now we have a week to practice here before playoffs, and so that will give us some time to come tweak some of the little things that will hopefully make a better bigger picture for us," Sleepy Eye head coach Courtney Brey said.
Cathedral (12-11) will end its regular season by hosting Minnesota Valley Lutheran tonight in a conference match-up.
"We want to come out with a win so we can carry our momentum into the playoffs," Ehlenz said. "We really want to get the win because they beat us in three last time, we've never been swept, so now we want to come out and we want to beat them in three."