The St. Mary’s volleyball team fought through the humidity and the lack of air conditioners on Aug. 27 and defeated Martin Luther in three straight sets to start off the season.
The preseason practice must have paid off, as St. Mary’s got right down to business and took a four-point lead to begin the first set. Martin Luther fought back and took the lead 12-11 halfway through, but St. Mary’s showed solid passing and great defense as the team regained the lead and took the first set 25-21.
St. Mary’s showed no sign of struggle in the second set, as the team had a steady three-to-four point lead throughout. St. Mary’s took advantage of several serving and unforced errors made by Martin Luther to take set two, 25-19.
The third set was an exciting one. St. Mary’s once again showed great poise and took the lead early. The team had multiple runs of unanswered points and eventually had a 20-7 lead. But the game was far from over, as Martin Luther rallied back and was able to bring the score to a close 23-18. But St. Mary’s was determined to not bring the game into a fourth set, and got the couple of points needed and ended the set 25-18.
It was Jen Walter’s first win as Head Coach for the St. Mary’s team and she said she was happy with the result.
“First win was great to get it under our belt,” Walter said. “We all had high expectations and we’re starting it off on the right note.”
Leaders for St. Mary’s include senior Bethany Berkner, who recorded 31 set assists and five aces. Senior Lexie Weiss had five digs and six aces, while senior Deonna Brinkman had six kills and three aces. Finally, junior Becca Schmitz recorded 10 kills on the night.
Another key player in the victory was senior Nikki Carr, who had crucial defensive hits throughout the game. Carr said she and her teammates had to stay strong mentally to keep control of the game because of the warm conditions inside St. Mary’s gym.
“We were pretty determined,” Carr said. “We all wanted to get home, take a shower and be done. We wanted to finish it in three.”