TRUMAN - Granada-Huntley-East Chain's Rachel Shumski and Martin Luther's Kristi Oberdieck each are known for their shot-blocking prowess on the prep basketball court.
Unfortunately for Tuesday night's opponent Truman, Shumski's and Oberdieck's rejection skills have spilled over into the sport of volleyball this fall, and the pair of 6-footers are teammates.
Shumski pounded out a match-best seven blocks, while Oberdieck delivered five rejections to power the ML/GHEC Knights to a 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22 Valley Conference volleyball victory over the hometown Bluejays in Truman.
ONE-HANDED TAP — Truman’s Alexis Jahnz (8) uses a one-handed tap shot to clear the block created by Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain’s Rachel Shumski (6) and Dani Schreader (7) during Valley Conference volleyball action Tuesday night in Truman. The Bluejays’ Stephanie Jahnz (yellow jersey) and teammate Sarah Schwanz watch the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"She (Shumski) is fairly new to the sport of volleyball, but has a lot of potential due to her height and athleticism," first-year Knights head coach Paul Steinhaus said in reference to his 6-1 sophomore middle hitter. "She's getting a feel for the game with each match and has shown quite a bit of improvement."
Trailing 7-6 in the opening game, Shumski formed a towering frontline presence, forcing Truman's outside hitter to sail her spike long for a pivotal sideout.
Amber Schulz, who topped ML/GHEC with 11 kills on the four-game match, then displayed her deft serving touch by reeling off four points to swing the momentum to the Knights at 10-7.
Setter Hunter Payne, who distributed a match-best 26 assists, turned her thoughts to hitting by nailing back-to-back Bluejay overpasses to Truman's side of the floor for kills with Schulz at the line.
After an errant Knights' tip, Shumski quickly regained possession by recording a resounding block to rotate teammate Alexis Brummond to the line. Brummond unleashed three service aces in a row to build a 14-8 margin for ML/GHEC.
Truman middle hitter Emily Zaharia countered by smacking one of Cydney Kilian's 13 set assists for a sideout kill to rotate Kilian to the line at 16-10.
Kilian generated three straight service points to inch the Bluejays within three before Oberdieck smashed a Payne set to the hardwood floor to halt Truman's comeback bid.
Oberdieck later served up three points before Zaharia countered again only to see Shumski answered one play later with a sideout kill off a Payne loft.
Amanda Schuder then reeled off the final three points from the service line, with Shumski chipping in another block, to seal ML/GHEC's 25-16 opening win.
Kilian jumpstarted Truman's early edge on the scoreboard during Game 2, delivering four consecutive points from the leadoff spot in the hometown team's rotation.
After maintaining a four-point lead throughout nearly a completion team service rotation, Megan Schock utilized a well-placed ace tip off a Payne assist to send Payne to the service area for the Knights.
Payne narrowed ML/GHEC's deficit to 11-10 on the strength of three service points and two Oberdieck kills before the two rivals slugged it out as Truman rebuilt a 19-15 lead behind Zaharia's play near the net.
A long Bluejays' spike turned the tide in the Knights' direction as Shumski batted down two Truman attacks to ignite Schulz's four-point service stint to knot the game at 19-all.
Despite a kill and a block from Oberdieck down the stretch, the Knights could not prevent Zaharia's echoing block from capping Truman's 25-23 Game 2 victory to even the match at one game apiece.
Truman hitter Hanna Hartman and ML/GHEC's Schulz exchanged frontline firepower to keep their respective lineups even at 17-all in a pivotal Game 3.
Once again, Shumski made her presence known, only this time by hammering a Payne assist to the floor for a kill at 22-19.
Brummond then wasted no time in delivering the final three points from the service line, with Oberdieck drilling an ace kill to ice the Knights' 25-19 triumph.
Oberdieck continued her hard-hitting ways during Game 4, joining forces with Shumski and Schulz to match Truman's Alexis Jahnz and Hartman to build a 12-9 lead for ML/GHEC.
Oberdieck's sideout tip then rotated Schock to the line and the junior hitter assembled a five-point service run to extend the Knights' edge to 18-9.
Zaharia, however, countered from the service area by drilling three aces to inch Truman within 20-16. Alexis Jahnz's pair of drives whittled the Bluejays' deficit to 24-22 down the stretch, but an errant serve gave the Knights Point 25.
Shumski generated 10 kills to complement her seven blocks for the Knights, Oberdieck contributed seven kills, while Schock chipped in five kills.
Hartman spiked out six kills for the Bluejays, while Alexis Jahnz tallied five spike-winners.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain (2-8, 0-4 Valley) faces Martin County West on Thursday night in Trimont.
Truman (2-7, 1-3) plays host to Cleveland on Thursday night.
Martin County West 3, Madelia 0 - Middle hitter Kate Thiesse produced 11 kills, seven digs, three blocks and four ace serves to engineer the Mavericks' 25-16, 25-12, 25-15 Valley Conference sweep over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night in Madelia.
Hailey Leiding pounded down nine kills for MCW, Reilly Geistfeld supplied seven spike-winners, while Jordan Gregory generated six kills and two service aces.
Kennedy Janssen distributed 25 set assists for the Mavericks, McKenna Taylor tallied three kills, while Autumn Smith collected 14 digs and served up four aces.
Haley Jensen made seven digs, Molly Klima supplied six digs, while Ellie Kuehl doled out seven set assists for the Mavericks.
Martin County West (10-4, 4-0 Valley) plays host to Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain on Thursday night in Trimont.