St. Clair serves Valley loss to Maverick spikers

FINGERTIP CONTROL — Martin County West’s Cheyenne Owens (4) and Renae Eckmann (12) contest St. Clair hitter Olivia Drummer’s tip during Valley Conference volleyball action Tuesday night in Trimont. Martin County West’s Maia Taylor (far left), along with, from left, St. Clair’s MacKenzie Kruse, Michaela Karels and Cassidy Anderegg, watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

TRIMONT — The St. Clair Cylones literally marched to the beat of their own drum.

Senior outside hitter Olivia Drummer powered 12 kills, including the match-winning shot, to lead the Cyclones over the Martin County West, 3-1, during Valley Conference volleyball action on Tuesday night.

Up 24-20 during the fourth game, the Cyclones gave up two points to the Mavericks, including junior middle hitter Karlee Thiesse’s kill, before junior setter Claire Anderson lobbed up the ball for Drummer’s final spike to close out the match.

The Cyclones posted nine points on the strength of junior outside hitter Megan Devens’ 9-for-9 serving, including an ace, to start Game 1. The visitors’ run ended on a misplayed ball for a 10-1 score, but an error on a block put the ball back into St. Clair’s hands.

Thiesse used one of her seven kills to bring the Mavericks back within seven during the latter part of the game, but the Cyclones ended the game on a 6-0 run.

Junior middle hitter MacKenzie Kruse turned the sideout kill before Anderson connected with senior Michaela Karels for a 21-10 edge. Two Mavericks miscues and two Drummer kills later, the Cyclones won the first game, 25-10.

“One things we talked about in the locker room — and the girls brought it up — is how we start the game. Every game, with the exception of one, we’ve started flat, so trying to get the momentum in the right way, on your side right and away means a big difference,” Mavericks head coach Kayla Zehms. “So, that’s the biggest part of it.”

Mavericks senior outside hitter Emma Behrends opened Game 2 with a spike, but from there, the Cyclones began to create distance. Drummer’s hit caught the inside edge of the court for a sideout kill, breaking a 3-all tie. The Mavericks committed two more errors and Anderson tipped over a kill for the 7-3 lead.

The Mavericks later found themselves down, 12-7, but used their strength at the net to pull within one. Senior Maia Taylor and Thiesse combined for a block to get Taylor to the serving line. Junior setter Cheyenne Owens provided an assist on Behrends’ kill.

The Cyclones struggled to return one of Taylor’s serves and recorded another error, reducing their lead, 12-11.

The two teams traded off sideouts before the Cyclones ran away with another six unanswered points to take the second game, 25-19.

The Mavericks turned the tides in the third game and got out to a 6-2 lead, which included two kills from senior outside hitter Renae Eckmann.

The home team continued to build upon its lead and used Devens’ netted serve to power a 8-0 run. Senior middle hitter Hallie Olson used a set assist from senior setter Mercedes Moeller to notch a kill during the period.

Cyclones senior middle hitter Megan Mettler got the sideout via one of Anderson’s 19 assists, but Taylor answered back with a kill for the 22-13 MCW advantage.

The Cyclones rallied for a comeback, but were stopped short thanks to a commanding, game-winning kill from Behrends, who ended the night with seven kills.

“(We had a) whole rotation change, so backing up rotations, matching different people up to help block for our sides so that way, certain (Cyclone) hitters don’t get as many hits,” Zehms said about the third-game strategy.

The Mavericks began Game 4 with a 5-1 deficit, but rattled off four points for the tie. Karels went up for a block, sending senior setter Maegan Good to the serving line. Good notched four serves for three points, allowing the visiting team a lead it would keep for the duration of the game.

The Cyclones got up, 22-16, when the Mavericks tried for their own comeback. Drummer’s hit bounced off the net to turn the ball over to the home team. Senior libero Jade Miller flipped over a kill and a out-of-bounds ball cut the Mavericks’ deficit down, 22-19.

The Mavericks generated three more points before Drummer closed out the match for the victory.

Taylor (14), Owens (5) and Moeller (12) combined for 31 assists as the trio shared setting duties.

“It’s very nice to have three setters there, especially if a setter digs the ball on defense, you have a setter on the right side that can still make a good set for your offense. That’s huge,” Zehms said.

Taylor also had 18 digs and six kills, while Thiesse, Behrends and Eckmann each finished with seven. Junior libero Madison Klima totaled 20 digs.

Anderson added four kills to her 19-assist performance, and Devens went 15-for-18 with two aces at the serving line for 11 points.

St. Clair (6-3) hosts Nicollet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Martin County West (3-3) plays host to Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in Trimont.

Blue Earth Area 3, New Ulm 0 — The Bucs swept the Eagles, 25-13, 25-18, 25-12, during a Big South Conference match on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.

Lindsey Norman finished with nine kills, nine digs and three ace blocks for the Bucs. Maddi Oelke contributed seven kills, seven digs and three ace blocks, while Sofie Blair totaled six kills.

Blair accumulated 13 points and two aces on 15-for-17 serving. Alissa Norman completed 20 of 22 serves with three aces for 18 points, along with five digs and three ace blocks.

Hannah Johnson provided the Bucs with five kills.

Blue Earth Area (3-5, 1-1 Big South) hosts Waseca at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

North Union 3, Bishop Garrigan 1 — The Warriors edged the Golden Bears during Top of Iowa Conference action on Tuesday night in Armstrong.

Erin Goraczkowski recorded 13 kills for the Warriors, who won with game scores of 25-16, 24-26, 25-23, 25-15. Hallie Reese added on 12 kills.

Kate Anderson dished out 46 set assists for North Union. Aly Bierstedt led the team’s defense with 24 digs, while Bre Anderson ended the match with 19.

North Union (4-9) competes in a tournament on Saturday.