Sleepy Eye Public’s volleyball season ended with a 1-3 crosstown loss to St. Mary’s on Oct. 21.
Claire Krumbach and the rest of the Sleepy Eye Public athletes knew they had to bring their A-game in order to break St. Mary’s in the first Section 2A tournament game. After revenging an 0-3 loss earlier in the season with a big 3-1 win over Springfield on Oct. 15, the Knights had full confidence coming into this game against their crosstown foe. But the Indians weren’t going to go down without a fight.
Despite the 3-1 final score, the Indians had the early lead in three of the four sets and all four sets were intensely close. Sleepy Eye stepped up their offensive game as Krumbach led the way with 18 kills. St. Mary’s Coach Jen Walter said although her team was prepared, the crosstown match was harder than they anticipated.
“We knew they were a good team, they can play phenomenal at times,” Walter said. “They definitely caught us off guard though. Especially Krumbach was hitting awesome in the middle, she was hot. We had a hard time shutting her down.”
The Indians came out in the first set with a lot of intensity and took a 3-1 lead which stretched into a 18-14 lead. Not used to being on their back feet, the Knights eventually found their own momentum and won four points in a row to tie it at 18-18. The final few points were close but the Indians showed their determination and won it 25-23.
Sleepy Eye took a 7-4 lead in the second set, but not before the momentum switched over to St. Mary’s side as the Knights took the lead at 12-11. The Indians mustered up a few more points but the Knights made sure not to give them a two set lead as St. Mary’s won it 25-16.
The third set was once again controlled by the Indians early on. Sleepy Eye continued to hit hard and took advantage of mistakes made by the Knights and had a 17-8 lead. At 18-12, the Indians felt the pressure as St. Mary’s was heating up and quickly closing the gap. The score was tied for the first time in the set at 22-22, which is when the Knights took over and won 25-23 in a comeback shocker.
The final set was the most intense of the four. Sleepy Eye took a 17-12 lead halfway through, but the score was tied again at 17-17 after a statement spike was made by Deonna Brinkman. Both teams were battling as if it was their last set of the season, as the score was tied five more times, including at 25-25. But unfortunately for the Indians, it did turn out to be their last set of the season, after the Knights executed on the final two points and won it 27-25.
Page 2 of 2 -
Becca Schmitz led in kills with 17 for St. Mary’s, with Brinkman behind her at 12. Schmitz also had six blocks and eight digs. Lexie Weiss led in digs with 11, and led in aces with four. Bethany Berkner added 34 more set assists to her record. Finally, Berkner, Nikki Carr, Haley Neid, and Laura Pelzel had nine digs apiece.
For Sleepy Eye, Krumbach had 18 kills, three blocks, and two aces. Meanwhile, Josie Schieffert had nine kills and Justine Gonzalez and Miranda McMullen combined for 30 assists.
Indians Coach Nicole Jensen said it has been a roller coaster of a season for her team.
“This was the potential that we’ve had all season,” Jensen said. “We have had our ups and downs, it’s just more of a consistency thing. We had the lead in game three and game four and we just didn’t capitalize on the plays that we needed to.”
The Knights have now won seven games in a row, and will next face BOLD high school on Oct. 24 for the second round of the Section 2A playoffs. The game will take place in Olivia at 7 p.m.