Blackhawks cage Jaguars in Valley volleyball clash

TOWERING POWER — Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman’s Michaelah Petrowiak (25) hammers the volleyball over Madelia’s Alayna DeLaCruz (10) during Valley Conference action Tuesday night in Granada. The Jaguars’ Lydia Studer (17) watches the play. (Photo by Greg Abel)

GRANADA — A hard-fought three points in Game 4 made the world of difference for the Madelia Blackhawks volleyball team.

With game point in favor of the Martin Luther/ Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Jaguars, the Blackhawks engineered the 3-0 run to win the game and ultimately the match, 3-1, on Thursday night.

The Jaguars were down 2-1 going into Game 4 and had a 19-11 deficit before firing off 10 unanswered points. Sophomore setter Lydia Steinhaus lobbed an assist up for junior middle hitter Lydia Studer’s sideout kill, sending Lydia Steinhaus to the service line.

The Blackhawks made two hitting errors before the two Lydias connected again to narrow the Blackhawks’ lead, 19-15. Freshman middle hitter Michaelah Petrowiak went up for a block and Lydia Steinhaus had two ace serves during the 10-0 run that ended on Lydia Steinhaus’ out-of-bounds serve.

“(Petrowiak) likes to block with one hand way too often, and then in this last run in the fourth game, she started blocking with two hands. That got us like two or three points,” Jaguars head coach Paul Steinhaus said. “Those kinds of things we can look at and say, ‘Hey, this is where we’re getting better each step of the way.’ But, it took until the fourth game today before that happened, so the fact that it showed up was a good sign.”

Studer’s hit that flew behind the Blachkawks players gave the visiting team the lead, but she came right back with the tip kill to regain the lead. The game featured three more ties with the last coming at a 26-all score.

Senior right-side hitter Estefany Sotelo provided an assist to junior middle hitter Alayna DeLaCruz for the 27-26 lead. A hit that just missed the inside of left edge of the court, however, allowed the Blachawks the Valley Conference victory.

“We had some ideas that we didn’t quite execute and that was the difference for us in that fourth game because we could have pulled it out. We had some chances,” Paul Steinhaus said. “They left the middle wide open for us and we didn’t hit it.

The Jaguars did, however, get the win in the third game to extend the match. The home team fell behind early, but took a 9-8 lead on Petrowiak’s kill. She then teammed with sophomore outside hitter Abby Calkins for a block to stake the two-point advantage.

The Jaguars added on to the lead as Lydia Steinhaus served the team to a five-point lead. Sotelo netted her serve to start the 5-0 run. The Blackhawks could’t return Lydia Steinhaus’ serve for a second point, and senior outside hitter Abby Pettersen’s hit went out.

Petrowiak went up for another block for the 20-15 lead.

The Blackhawks got within one, but the Jaguars kept its distance, using senior middle hitter Emma Becker’s final kill of the game to nab the 25-22 triumph.

The Blackhawks built its two-game lead using seven kills from senior outside hitter Maddie Mueller and five from Alayna DeLaCruz.

With the team down, 10-8, in Game 1, Mueller chipped in two kills on a 4-0 run to gain the lead. Later in the game, one of her 10 kills served as the Blackhawks’ catalyst for six uncontested points. Ironically, she also notched the game-winning point for the 25-19 win.

Senior setter Lizzie Cooling served the Blackhawks to a 4-0 score to start the second game before Alayna DeLaCruz reeled off three kills during a 5-0 rally for the 11-5 advantage.

Petrowiak got the sideout kill and Pettersen’s hit went into the net to interrupt the run.

The Blackhawks then outscored the Jaguars, 11-1, to put the visiting team up, 22-8.

Despite getting five points, the Jaguars couldn’t overcome its deficit. Once again, Mueller put the game away, this time using one of Cooling’s match-leading 23 assists to top the home team, 25-14.

Cooling also finished the match with six kills, while senior middle hitter Carissa Caraway led the Blackhawks with 11 kills. Alayna DeLaCruz chipped in nine kills.

Studer had a Jaguars-best nine kills, and Marissa Steinhaus finished with six kills. Lydia Steinhaus contributed 18 set assists while going 23-for-27 with four aces from the serving line for 20 points. Becker went 7-for-10 serving for four points.

“Given our experience and where we’re at, our service game really needs to be strong,” Paul Steinhaus said. “We don’t have an offense that’s going to light it up against everybody, so if we can use our serve as the first point of offense, we’ll be okay.”

Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (2-12) plays at Nicollet on Thursday.

Fairmont 3, New Ulm 1 — The Cardinals marked a 14-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-18 Big South Conference win over the Eagles on Tuesday night in New Ulm.

Bailee Swanson generated a Cardinal-leading 18 kills with seven digs and completed 10 of 11 serves. Courtney Williams went 12-for-13 from the service line to complement 10 kills and three blocks.

Taylor Crissinger provided the Cardinals 21 set assists and notched three kills, while Brenna Cutler had six kills and five blocks. Claire Cutler recorded three blocks, Alli Lardy totaled five kills and three blocks and Andrea Westcott chipped eight assists.

Ericka Kim contributed 11 digs to the Cardinals’ defensive performance while going 9-for-10 serving with an ace on offense. Mallory Gochanour went 17-for-18 at the service line and marked four digs.

Fairmont (7-5, 3-1 Big South) plays at Big South opponent St. James on Thursday.

New Ulm defeated Fairmont, 2-1, during B-squad action on Tuesday. Cambrie Anderson totaled six kills, while Abby Tonder had two. Kylee Harder added nine set assists.

Fairmont’s C-squad won in double 25-23 games against New Ulm on Tuesday. Natalie Tonne supplied seven kills, and Acacia Schmidt ended the match with a kill and two aces on 6-for-6 serving.

Sabrina Segar had seven set assists and completed 19 of 21 serves with three aces.

Blue Earth Area 3, St. James 0 — The Blue Earth Area Bucs swept the St. James Saints, 25-11, 25-16, 25-11, in a Big South Conference volleyball match Tuesday night in Blue Earth.

Blue Earth Area’s Sidney Blair collected five kills, while teammate Alyssa Ripley notched three ace blocks. Alissa Norman generated four kills, distributed 20 set assists and served 13-for-14. Sofie Blair generated nine digs and served at a 12-for-13 pace for the Bucs.

Maddi Oelke spiked out six kills and tallied four blocks, while teammate Hannah Johnson tallied four kills. Lindsey Norman cranked six kills, made seven digs and served two aces behind a 12-for-14 effort, while Samantha Nauman served 13-for-13.

Blue Earth Area (5-5, 3-1 BSC) plays host to St. Peter at 7:15 p.m. Thursday night.

Martin County West 3, Nicollet 0 — The Mavericks swept the Raiders, 25-19, 25-19, 25-22, in a Valley Conference matchup Tuesday night in Trimont.

Mercedes Moeller notched five digs and went 16-for-16 serving for MCW, while teammate Renae Eckmann went 9-for-12 serving and two aces to complement six kills and three digs. Hallie Olson generated five kills and went 8-for-11 serving for the Mavericks.

Maia Taylor went 11-for-12 serving, with one ace, to go with seven kills and three digs for MCW, Madison Klima made 28 digs and went 9-for-10 serving with one ace, while Emma Behrends went 8-for-9 serving with one ace to accompany three kill and six digs.

Karlee Thiesse notched four kills, teammate Lexie Lange generated two kills and two digs, Jade Miller tallied nine digs, while Hope Bicknase added four digs.

Martin County West (6-6) travels to Alden-Conger next Tuesday night.

Lake Mills 3, North Union 0 — The Bulldogs swept the Warriors, 25-19, 25-13, 25-13 during Top of Iowa Conference action on Tuesday night in Lake Mills, Iowa.

Aly Bierstedt produced a Warriors-best 11 digs, followed by Bre Anderson with eight.

Hallie Reese, Erin Goraczkowski and Shawna Person combined equally for 15 kills, while Kate Anderson provided North Union with 19 set assists.

North Union (10-14) travels to Spirit Lake, Iowa, on Thursday.