Not only did St. Mary’s win, but senior Bethany Berkner hit a milestone that has been in the works for four years. Berkner hit her 1,000th career set assist at the game against Cedar Mountain/Comfrey on Oct. 8. Berkner needed 23 to reach the mark and ended the night with 28.
The first set began well for St. Mary’s as the Knights took an early lead which allowed them to control the game at their own pace. Berkner recorded 10 assists and nine digs in the first set alone. The Knights hit and placed the ball well on offense with Deonna Brinkman and Becca Schmitz leading the way in kills with five and four, respectfully. Schmitz also had three aces as St. Mary’s took the first set 25-17.
The second set was closer, but the Knights still came out on top 25-22. In the third set, Berkner hit her 1,000th career assist while Schmitz had six kills. St. Mary’s stomped the Cougars in the third as they won 25-16.
Schmitz won in the total kill count with 13, while Brinkman had eight. Schmitz also had the most blocks with six. Berkner won in everything else, with 28 assists, 16 digs, and five aces.
On Oct. 14, the Knights traveled to Truman where they pulled out another easy 3-0 victory. Schmitz recorded seven kills in the first set to lead St. Mary’s to the 25-19 score. Meanwhile, Berkner continued her set assist count by hitting 11. She also made seven digs in the first set as well.
The second set was even more dominated by the Knights as they won 25-13. St. Mary’s took advantage of the errors made by Truman and executed well on both offense and defense.
The final set was closer, as Truman was determined not to get shutout on their home court. But the Knights didn’t let the pressure get to them as Brinkman had six kills and the rest of the girls played consistent enough to take the third set 25-22.
Schmitz led St. Mary’s with 14 total kills, while Brinkman had 11. For digs, Nikki Carr and Haley Neid combined for 30 on the night. Berkner recorded 27 assists, 13 digs, and three aces.
Knights Coach Jen Walter said she is very happy at her team’s most recent success.
“We are on a five-game winning streak and are excited about the way we have been playing lately,” Walter said. “The girls have come together and are playing tough.”
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As of Oct. 14, Berkner now has a total of 1,055 set assists. To put that into perspective, if you average the amount of games played in one season to be 17, Berkner had to hit around 14 assists per game for four years to reach 1,000.