NEW ULM - The Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Mustangs volleyball team beat the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers Thursday night with superb defense, timely offense and a little thing called self-destruction on the part of the opponent.
The bottom line showed a 25-19, 25-14, 25-19 sweep for the Mustangs and an unusual match where coach Susan Alstrom didn't have to call a single timeout.
"This is a really good group," Alstrom said. "My issue is trying to play all 14 players and I was able to do that tonight. We did what we needed to do in a cohesive way. The team is very supportive of each other and they were really moving out there tonight. I'm excited about this season."
Even though the Chargers had a tough match Tuesday night, coach Sara Gieseke was able to put her finger on MVL's struggles against BLHS.
"There were a lot of mental errors," Gieseke said. "We have to refocus and come back strong, regroup and get back to the grind."
The way the first set started, it looked like both teams were going to grind out a five set match. There were nine ties until the score was locked at 12-12, with neither team being able to take more than a two point lead.
But after that, the Mustangs were more than happy to watch the Chargers implode. Ten of the final 13 BLHS points came from MVL errors, including two net serves and eight balls hit out of bounds.
Typical of the evening for the Chargers was a group of points that occurred after they were down 8-6 in the second set. They hit a ball into the net, watched kills from Mustangs frontline hitters Carley Klabunde and Hannah VanderVoort and suddenly BLHS held a well deserved 13-7 lead.
That's when the set shifted from MVL's mental errors to BLHS's offensive capabilities as 10 of the final 12 Mustangs points came from kills that opened a 2-0 set lead.
The third set started as competitive as the first set, with consecutive kills from Bekka Olsen keeping MVL in the mix. After the fourth tie of the game at 13-13, the Mustangs clung to one and two point margins, not pulling away until a VanderVoort kill and Kiana Johnson ace made it 20-16.
Two errors by BLHS brought MVL back to within two, 21-19, but two kills from Klabunde, an error and a final kill from Jacey Nelson allowed the Mustangs to improve to 2-1.
Leading BLHS was VanderVoort with 11 kills and two aces, Klabunde with nine kills and four blocks Ashley Petersen with 12 set assists and Ashley Tintes with 10 assists. Olsen was the top offensive player for MVL with 10 kills and nine digs, while Laura Schoenherr contributed 26 set assists.
MVL resumes action at 7 p.m. next Thursday at Springfield, while BLHS travels to Clara City to take on MACCRAY in a make-up match postponed from earlier in the season.