St. Mary’s nets sweep in first home match

SLEEPY EYE – There was a furnace procession at the Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s gym Tuesday night with the hot Knights winning.

With both Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley sharing the same nickname, it was the home Knights sweeping the visiting Knights 25-21, 25-19, 25-18.

It was also the first victory for new St. Mary’s coach Jen Walter, who was impressed by her team’s first effort of the year.

“I’m excited,” Walter said. “They’re athletic and dedicated. They want to be successful and will work hard to do it. We were working at practice this week on reading the floor and ball placement, putting it where it’s open.”

That work paid off against ML/G-H as St. Mary’s kept it scrambling all evening. It looked like the first set would be over before anyone could break a sweat as St. Mary’s pulled out to an 11-3 lead with three aces behind them.

But when Amanda Schuder stepped behind the line for ML/G-H, it would be the start of a 10-0 run that would put the visiting Knights on top temporarily, 13-11. After three ties, St. Mary’s would take a 20-15 lead before ML/G-H came back again to cut the margin to 20-19. St. Mary’s took advantage of four ML/G-H unforced errors before a kill from Nikki Carr gave them the first set.

ML/G-H surged to a 4-1 lead in the second set before St. Mary’s got themselves together and took a 11-5 advantage. ML/G-H later came back to within two before St. Mary’s went on a 4-1 run, again because of unforced errors and help with a tip kill from Deonna Brinkman.

Three of the last six points in the set came from tip kills, two by Becca Schmitz, whose regular kill made it 24-19 before another unforced error gave St. Mary’s a 2-0 lead.

ML/G-H started off somewhat strong in the third set, opening a 3-1 lead before losing it to St. Mary’s, which put itself in the driver’s seat with four more tip kills and six aces, with three in a row coming from Bethany Berkner.

The final four points of the match proved difficult, however, as ML/G-H would shave that lead to 22-17 before two unforced errors and a final ace by Lexie Weiss gave St. Mary’s the victory.

St. Mary’s was led by Berkner, who had 31 set assists and five aces in 11 serves, with Schmitz adding 10 kills and Weiss adding six aces on 10 serves.

St. Mary’s resumes play next Tuesday night when it travels to Minnesota Valley Lutheran in New Ulm.

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