Knights hold off Indians

SLEEPY EYE – Sometimes it’s just best to take the errors and run.

That’s essentially what the Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s volleyball team did against the neighboring Sleepy Eye Indians Tuesday night, winning 25-12, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19.

The Indians committed 16 errors in the first set and even more in the fourth.

“I consider 23 of 25 (St. Mary’s) points in the fourth set our errors,” Sleepy Eye coach Nicole Jensen said. “We’ve just got to control the ball. It seems the ball always finds the girl that’s off. We have to be more trusting and confident in each other.”

But defense also played a part in the Knights win.

“The girls really picked up on digs and gets them motivated,” said St. Mary’s coach Jen Walter. “We made some nice plays and our passing was good all night. Defense won the game for us.”

There wasn’t much need for the Knights to worry about defense in the first set because the Indians committed so many errors. After a 4-4 tie, St. Mary’s outscored Sleepy Eye 15-4 with 11 of those points coming from hits out of bounds and into the net, with the final Knights point coming from a net serve from Sleepy Eye.

St. Mary’s started off on a roll in the second set, taking a 13-7 lead and looking like they might sweep the Indians. Sleepy Eye had other ideas. The Indians went on a 6-0 run that tied the game and saw the Knights having trouble with the ball, committing four errors in a row during that span.

After two more ties, the momentum swung in the Indians direction, as they took the lead 21-18. While St. Mary’s would tie it again at 22-22, two Knights’ balls in the net and an out of bounds kill attempt knotted the sets at 1-1.

Both teams settled down for the third set, with six ties resulting in a 8-8 score. Once again, St. Mary’s took the momentum with an ace from Nikki Carr and kills from Andrea Schwartz and Bethany Berkner for a 13-8 lead. The Knights offense continued with four more kills and an eventual 18-12 margin. Kills from Donna Brinkman and Carr ended the set and put the Knights up 2-1.

Set four opened the same way as set three with the same pattern, except St. Mary’s opened a 6-1 lead, only to lose it with help from three kills by the Indians Claire Krumbach to make it 6-6. Again the ties piled up, with the game even four more times.

At 12-12, the St. Mary’s offense took off with five straight kills, three by Becca Schmitz. Holding a 17-12 lead, the Knights never let the Indians closer than four and took the match 3-1 to improve their overall record to 6-3, 1-0 in the Tomahawk Conference. Sleepy Eye drops to 2-5, 0-2.

St. Mary’s was led by Schmitz’s 10 kills, Berkner’s 29 set assists and seven digs, Donna Brinkman’s eight kills and three blocks and Hayley Neid’s nine digs. Krumbach had 10 kills for the Indians, while Josie Schieffert had three blocks and Miranda McMullen contributed 12 set assists.

The Knights resume action at 7 p.m Thursday when they travel to take on New Ulm Cathedral, while the Indians are on the road at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Minnesota Valley Lutheran.

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