NEW ULM - Heading into the volleyball playoffs, the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds and Sleepy Eye Indians both had moments that defined their seasons on Monday night.
The 14-8-1 Greyhounds won 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 25-8, but struggled mightily in the second and third sets. The 5-15 Indians showed a vast improvement over matches they played earlier in the year, but couldn't find a lick of momentum in the fourth set.
So will the real Cathedral and Sleepy Eye teams please stand up?
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Kristin Mohr (9) spikes the ball away from the block attempt of Claire Krumbach of Sleepy Eye Monday at CHS.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
"I think we played well in the first and fourth sets," Greyhounds coach Stef Dietz said. "But we weren't aggressive in the other two. The team we had out there is our core group. We have to play our game, and I thought we did a much better job of attacking in the fourth set."
For the Indians, the improvement may not show up by looking at the record, but they are a different team than they were earlier in the year.
"The girls have shown a lot of improvement," Sleepy Eye coach Nicole Jensen said. "They're still disappointed in their record. Tonight, we knew what we had to do, we just didn't get it done. It's not often we get shut down."
Sleepy Eye dominated the early going of the first set, taking a 8-3 lead on a kill block by Josie Schieffert. But that lead quickly dissolved after the Indians were up 12-9, as Cathedral rattled off eight in a row and took a 17-12 lead with the help of three Morgan Schabert aces.
The Greyhounds were up by just one, 22-21, when Kristin Mohr blocked a kill that was followed by another kill and an ace by MacKinnon Ehlenz to give Cathedral the first set.
The second set was again dominated early by the Indians, who were able to keep the lead and were cruising when the Greyhounds stiffened down 20-16.
Cathedral scored five in a row and was up 21-20 after a Kristin Mohr kill, but a kill from Schieffert and two unforced errors were too much for the Greyhounds to come back from and a kill by Hanna Sellner tied the match at 1-1.
Neither team could get the upper hand in the third set, with 12 ties and no one able to get more than a three-point advantage until it was 20-20. Kristin Mohr combined with Amber Hillesheim for three kills as the Greyhounds broke the match tie.
Somewhere between the third and fourth sets, a switch was tripped on the Cathedral side and the Greyhounds took leads of 5-0, then upped it to 18-4, completely overwhelming the Indians, who were unable to string together even two points in a row.
Kristin Mohr led the Greyhounds with 17 kills and 11 digs, while Anna Mohr had six blocks, Schabert had 33 set assists and five aces, with Hillesheim adding 12 digs to go along with Abby Hauser's 11 digs and Ehlenz's 10. Schieffert had 12 kills for Sleepy Eye, while Claire Krumbach had nine kills and three aces, Justine Gonzalez added 19 set assists, with Miranda McMullen responsible for 12 set assists.
The Greyhounds play their final match of the season tonight when they travel to play Minnesota Valley Lutheran, while the Indians await Section 2A seedings on Wednesday to see who their opponents will be in the opening round of the playoffs.