NEW ULM - New Ulm Cathedral won the regular-season crown in its cross-town rivalry with Minnesota Valley Lutheran after its three-set (25-12, 25-12, 25-23) victory on Tuesday.
The Greyhounds (15-8-1, 5-3 Tomahawk Conference) solidified a fourth-place finish in the conference with their win, which was their fourth-straight to conclude the regular season.
"Cathedral played very well," said MVL coach Sara Gieseke. "They hustled, they played really good defense. Give them credit, they came to play hard. It would have been nice to give them a tougher match."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Karlee Pfaff (10) blocks a spike from Bekka Olsen (15) of Minnesota Valley Lutheran Tuesday at MVL.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The Chargers (10-15-2, 3-5), who had not lost to Cathedral since 2005 until last week's nonconference-designated sweep, committed 29 attack errors in the contest Tuesday.
"We just didn't click together, we weren't working together," said MVL senior Rylee Weisensel. "We had so much energy before the game and it's like we just gave up before the game."
Senior Kristin Mohr led the Greyhounds with 12 kills offensively, including six in their second-set 25-12 victory.
"The last two nights, Kristin has had two awesome all-around matches," said Cathedral coach Stef Dietz. "She's really stepped up, she's been swinging hard and she's been seeing the court and hitting the open spots. That's exactly what we need going into the playoffs."
Dietz said her team succeeded in keeping momentum on its side, which was key in the victory.
In the third set, however, MVL gave Cathedral a run for its money. After a block by Amber Hillesheim pushed Cathedral's lead to 20-12, MVL fired off a 6-0 run led by two kills from Anna Munsen to pull to within two points before Dietz called a timeout.
"Our middles were having a tough time keeping the ball in, so we put in somebody that has played middle before Anna Munsen," Gieseke said. "She gave us a little spark because she got all of her hits in, which is basically what we needed at that time."
MVL knocked on the door of forcing a fourth set, tying the match at 23-23 after a service ace by Laura Schoenherr.
After a tip-kill by Mohr, however, Hillesheim buried the ball in an open spot on the opposing floor immediately following a hard-fought MVL effort to keep the ball in bounds to end the match.
Hillesheim finished with seven kills for Cathedral. For MVL, Bekka Olsen had a team-high 10 kills, while Weisensel had five.
Both teams now turn attention to preparing for Section 2A play, where they will be fighting for a shot to go to state.
"This has just shown us what happens if we don't work together as a team," Weisensel said. "When we do work together as a team, we'll do amazing things."