BLHS tops Cathedral

NEW ULM – What started out as a back-and-forth first-set win for New Ulm Cathedral turned into an up-and-down win for Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart.

Said up-and-down win for BLHS came in four sets (20-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-21) in a Tomahawk Conference match at Cathedral High School on Tuesday night.

“We started off kind of slow because we start off slow at away games,” said BLHS senior Carley Klabunde. “But once we got the momentum going, we really stepped up.”

The Mustangs (7-5, 5-0 Tomahawk Conference) tallied their biggest lead after a kill by senior outside hitter Hannah VanderVoort put them ahead 18-13. However, the Greyhounds (8-7-1, 1-3) racked up a 6-0 run that included two kills by Kristin Mohr and two service aces by Abby Hauser to take a 19-18 lead.

A kill by VanderVoort tied the first set at 19-19, but an attack error by Klabunde sealed it for Cathedral 25-20 for a 1-0 lead. That attack error was the Mustangs’ fifth in the set, during which they also netted three service errors.

BLHS coach Sue Alstrom said the transition from the first set to the second wasn’t so much a matter of changing her team’s play, but rather just settling down.

“We just didn’t make as many errors as we did in the first set,” Alstrom said. “The first set, we just had too many unforced errors, running into the net.”

The Mustangs dwindled their number of attack errors to four with no service errors.

Offensive production had also improved for BLHS, which had eight players notch at least one kill in the match.

“They moved the ball around nicely – outside, middle, backside,” said Cathedral coach Stef Dietz. “But I felt we were prepared for that.”

In the second set, the Mustangs railed off a 10-point streak of their own, during which Maddie Ludowese tallied a match-high four service aces with two kills from Kiana Johnson and another from VanderVoort.

“We can’t let them have a string of points, a string of serves,” Dietz said. “That’s what we did basically the last three sets.”

Dietz said her team was inconsistent in aggressiveness, playing toe-to-toe with BLHS in one point and failing to dig a reachable ball the next.

“In the game of volleyball, you’ve got to be aggressive all the way through,” Dietz said.

Anna Mohr returned to the court in her first full match since a high-ankle sprain sidelined her earlier this month. Mohr had six kills and six blocks up front for the Greyhounds.

“I knew we needed to have a good block up there and I thought she did an excellent job up there,” Dietz said. “I thought she did an excellent job hitting. We’ll keep working with her, it is her first match, but I thought she had a great game.”

VanderVoort led the Mustangs in kills with nine, while Ludowese tallied eight and Klabunde had seven.

Kristin Mohr tied VanderVoort’s mark of nine to lead the Greyhounds in kills, while Karlee Pfaff and MacKinnon Ehlenz tied Anna Mohr’s mark of six.

BLHS pulled away with the final two sets by three- and four-point margins despite having a 10-point lead twice in the third set and a nine-point lead in the fourth.

“New Ulm Cathedral had a heck of a defense,” Alstrom said. “They didn’t let balls drop at all and [on] long balls, they just kept the ball coming after us. I thought they played really awesome defense.”

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