Eagles sweep Waseca in SCC

NEW ULM – The New Ulm volleyball team transformed from the Eagles to the Avengers Tuesday night against the Waseca Bluejays.

Remembering their poor play earlier in the season when they visited Waseca and lost in four sets, New Ulm turned it around by sweeping the Bluejays 25-20, 25-18, 26-24.

“We knew we didn’t play our best the first time we played them and we knew we could play better,” senior outside hitter Ellie Schneider said. “We just came together and played for each other. Last time, we didn’t want it. Tonight, we wanted it.”

Desire was a sentiment echoed by Eagles coach Lauren Hoffmann.

“The first time against Waseca, it wasn’t just one or two players having an off night, it was everybody,” Hoffmann said. “Tonight, they wanted it and show them ‘this is how we play.'”

The first set started like it might go five sets as the an early 4-1 Eagles lead melted away, with six ties following until it was 9-9. Behind a kill from Bailey Hofmeister and an ace from Alley Grejtak, New Ulm took an 11-9 lead.

Up 15-13, New Ulm went on a 4-0 run that essentially put the Bluejays back in their cage. While Waseca cut a 24-16 margin down to 24-20, an out-of-bounds serve gave the Eagles the first set.

The Bluejays came out fighting in the second set and caught New Ulm flat footed. After a 2-2 start, Waseca rolled to a 7-2 lead, with four of those points coming from kills. But this Eagles team handled that adversity by coming back with five of their own behind two kills and a kill block by Lizzie Rummel.

This set in motion a string of New Ulm leads that would cap at 16-12 before the Bluejays got a second wind and tied it at 17-17. Three unforced Waseca errors and a pair of Chase Schewe aces put an end to the Bluejay rally, though, as the Eagles allowed just one more point for the 2-0 lead.

With their backs to the wall, the Bluejays stayed close in the third set, with four ties in the early going and consecutive kills from Grejtak erasing a 9-7 Bluejay lead to knot the set for the fifth time. After that, there was no clear advantage for either team, although the Eagles held leads of anywhere from one to three points before there were five more ties between 19-19 and 24-24.

At that point, kills from Grejtak and Schneider put the match in the win column for New Ulm.

“Ellie had an amazing game and Briana Sieve (21 digs) did very well also,” Hoffmann said. “We moved some people around tonight and I think I found out what’s working.”

The Eagles were led by Schewe with three aces and 15 digs, while Grejtak had six kills and 14 set assists. Rummel had six kills, Schneider had five kills and Tori Botten contributed 12 set assists. New Ulm improves to 7-8-1 overall and 5-1 in the South Central Conference and travels to play Fairmont at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

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