NEW ULM - It was senior night for the New Ulm Cathedral volleyball team, but it was ultimately the seniors of Minnesota Valley Lutheran that took center stage to lead the Chargers to a 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-20 Tomahawk Conference victory on Tuesday night.
Things started off great for Cathedral, as it fed off the home crowd to take the first set 25-23.
"We played really well during that first set," Cathedral coach Stef Dietz said. "We came out aggressive in all aspects and did what we needed to do."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Paige Pautzke (6) tips the ball over the net as Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Alexa Alfred looks on Tuesday at CHS in New Ulm.
MVL quickly flushed away the loss of the first set and took a commanding 10-3 lead early in set two. Cathedral came back, but could not overcome the deficit, giving MVL the set.
"We only lost (the first set) by two, so I told them to keep their heads up and stay aggressive the whole time," MVL coach Sara Gieseke said.
The second set victory gave MVL the momentum and the Chargers used it to their advantage to take the third set by a score of 25-18.
In the fourth set, MVL continued to stretch its lead on Cathedral throughout the entire set and fought off a Cathedral comeback to finish the match with a 25-20 fourth set victory.
"We dug ourselves a hole in the second set," Dietz said. "Our passing wasn't very good and we just weren't as aggressive compared to the first set."
Meanwhile, the four seniors of MVL, composed of Carlie Maasz, Sarah Burk, Allison Collum and Martha Johnston, carried the team to victory.
Maasz finished with 14 kills and 19 digs, Burk had 13 kills and eight blocks, Collum added 17 digs and a trio of aces and Johnston had 39 set assists, 10 digs and five aces.
"They are all good leaders out on the court," Gieseke said. "They do a lot of talking and have a lot of confidence in themselves and their teammates and are always positive."
Paige Pautzke had a good night for Cathedral by finishing with 30 set assists and 12 digs. Kristin Mohr and Karlee Pfaff each had 10 kills, with Mohr also adding five blocks. Lisa Helget added nine kills and 19 digs and picked up her 500th career kill during the match.
"It's a good accomplishment for Lisa," Dietz said. "She works really hard and it's just very special for her and her teammates."
With the victory, MVL wraps up its regular season at 16-13, while Cathedral finishes the regular season at 12-12 with the loss. Both teams will begin playoff action next week and will be seeded later this week.