St. Peter volleyball coasts to sweep over Fairmont

DIGGIN’ IT UP — Fairmont libero Chloe Murphy (white jersey) digs up a hard spike by St. Peter during Big South Conference volleyball action Thursday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Fairmont teammate Kylee Harder (10) watches the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — St. Peter senior middle hitter Claire Nuessmeier presented 20 good reasons on Thursday night why she’ll be playing volleyball for an NCAA Division I program next season.

Nuessmeier utilized an impressive vertical leap in conjunction with her 6-foot-2 frame to pound out match-bests of 15 kills and five ace blocks to engineer the Saints’ 25-10, 25-18, 25-17 Big South Conference volleyball sweep over Fairmont at Cardinal Gym.

“I’ll be playing for (19th-ranked) Marquette (University) next season,” said Nuessmeier. “I quit (prep) basketball a while ago, and have just focused on volleyball since then.”

Nuessmeier and junior setter Paige Hewitt synchronized their flawless timing early and often to help pace teammate Brielle Bushaw’s five-point run to stake St. Peter to a 6-1 advantage in Game 1.

Nuessmeier later delivered two aces via her jump serve, with teammate Sarah Conlon smacking down one of her seven kills off one of Hewitt’s match-leading 30 set assists, to extend the Saints’ margin to 11-3 on the scoreboard.

Whitney Scott converted a pair of Andrea Westcott set assists for a sideout-earning tip and sideout-producing drive for the Cardinals, but it was not enough to derail Bushaw’s performance at the service area.

Bushaw, who completed 22 of 24 serves, reeled off four of her match-best 18 points to extend St. Peter’s opening-game margin to 22-9.

Nuessmeier, however, ended the Cardinals’ comeback hopes by scorching Hewitt’s middle set to the hardwood floor for the pivotal sideout kill. Hewitt then served out the final two points for a 25-10 Game 1 victory, with Nuessmeier putting an exclamation mark on the final spike.

Bushaw and Hewitt combined from the end line to serve St. Peter to a quick 7-2 lead in Game 2, with Nuessmeier and left-handed hitting Maggi Pierret supplying the frontline firepower during the two offensive surges.

Westcott later served back-to-back points, with Taylor Crissinger setting up a Cambrie Anderson kill, to inch the Cardinals within 19-14, but this time, Conlon drilled the key sideout kill off of a Hewitt set.

Crissinger later delivered two kills off Westcott assists to counter Conlon’s pair of spike-winners, but once again, Nuessmeier literally elevated her game to smack down the game-clinching point behind St. Peter’s 25-18 Game 2 decision.

Bushaw proved the early offensive catalyst from the service area for the Saints in Game 3, generating three points during her first rotation and three more the second time around to pace a 14-6 lead.

Fairmont, however, answered with Chloe Murphy at the end line to trim its gap to 15-10 before Nuessmeier slammed the brakes on the Cardinals’ rally with a sizzling ace kill off a Hewitt assist.

Allie McCabe served up four consecutive points to extend St. Peter’s lead to 21-11, but Fairmont had one last comeback in it. Crissinger reeled off three straight points, with Olivia Anderson delivering a block, to inch within 24-17 before Nuessmeier crushed a sliding kill off a Hewitt set to close out Game 3 at 25-17.

“We just relaxed and played volleyball tonight,” said Fairmont head coach Haley Loerts, whose lineup generated 45 points during the three-game span compared to only 23 in a loss to New Ulm only two nights earlier.

“We’ll scrimmage Nicollet during our (Education Minnesota) break next Thursday and then await the results of our seeding meeting for who we’ll play in the Section 2AA playoffs (Thursday, Oct. 25),” said Loerts, whose lineup closed the regular season with a 6-18 overall record.

St. Peter (24-4) travels to Marshall on Tuesday night to close out the regular season.

Fairmont rallied for a 12-25, 26-24, 15-11 triumph over St. Peter to close out the B-squad season on Thursday night.

Natalie Tonne and Bryn Miller paced the Cardinals’ serving performance on the match.

Fairmont also pulled off another comeback in defeating St. Peter in C-squad action, 27-25, 19-25, 15-13, Thursday night.

Fairmont ended the season with a 12-7 record.

Martin County West 3, Blue Earth Area 0 — Karlee Thiesse produced a team-best 10 kills to complement nine digs and three blocks to power the Mavericks to a 25-17, 25-10, 25-20 nonconference sweep over the Bucs on Thursday night in Trimont.

Thiesse also connected on 11 of 12 serves for one ace, while teammate Cheyenne Owens completed all 11 serves for two aces to go with eight digs and six kills on the match.

Madison Klima topped the MCW defense with 18 digs to complement 17-for-17 serving with two aces, Dani Nelson supplied 10 digs, while Hannah Olson smacked seven kills and scored a team-best three aces behind 10-for-11 serving.

Shaylynn Anderson distributed 21 set assists and went 8-for-10 serving with an ace for the Mavericks, Logan Kosbab and Rachael Sorenson doled out six set assists apiece, while Taylor Elliott and Sami Meyer chipped in six and five kills, respectively.

Hannah Johnson produced five kills and five digs for BEA, while Adri Granillo collected three kills and seven digs to complement four points – including two aces – behind 7-for-9 serving.

Kiera Osmundson generated five digs and scored a team-best six points – including a pair of aces – on 9-for-12 serving for the Bucs, while Maddie Armon doled out nine set assists and went 7 of 7 serving.

Alyssa Ripley contributed four kills and two ace blocks for BEA, Eloise Blair made seven digs and Liz Beeler distributed three set assists.

Martin County West (6-12) plays in the Southwest Minnesota State University prep invitational on Saturday in Marshall.

Blue Earth Area (3-20) participates in the Rochester Century Invitational on Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20.