The Blue Earth Area Buccaneer volleyball team cruised through the opening round of the Section 2AA Volleyball Tournament with a three-game sweep of the St. Peter Saints on Thursday night.
The Bucs defeated the visiting Saints 25-19, 25-17, 25-17.
“I was very pleased that the girls came out with a determined force,” head coach Donna Nawrocki says. “They have not failed to win when they come out with this kind of determination.”
BEA will now face New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva at New Richland on Tuesday night in the semi-finals of the Sub-Section South bracket. BEA played NRHEG earlier in the season in a tournament and lost 2-1 to the Cardinals.
“We will have a lot of work to do to get ready for this next round,” Nawrocki says. “But this match against St. Peter was a nice win for us, especially our seniors, who played their last time on this court tonight. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
While Thursday’s scores seem to indicate domination by the Bucs over the Saints, that’s not quite true. Each game was close for most of the way.
In game one, BEA trailed 4-3 early before reeling off eight unanswered points behind Macy Henningsen’s serving. The Bucs led 14-8 before the Saints made a run of their own and took the lead away at 15-14. St. Peter led at 16-15 as well, when a big kill by Janessa Jahnke tied the game.
The Bucs used steady play after that to continue to increase their lead, finally putting the game away 25-19 for the first game victory.
St. Peter gained an early lead again in game two, this time at 3-1. BEA fought back and a kill by Annemarie Hoyt tied the game at 4-4. Her block at the net gave the Bucs the lead at 5-4.
The game score proceeded back and forth until it was tied at 8-8. That is when BEA took the lead and kept it for the rest of the game.
The Bucs led by 16-11 then 18-12, behind great net play including a couple of hard kills by Krista Hassing.
Sara Warmka added a pair of crunching kills as the Bucs cruised to their 25-17 second game win.
As in the first two games, the third saw BEA trail early, 2-0. The Bucs tied it at 2-2, one of five times in the game that it would be knotted up.
BEA trailed 4-3 but went ahead 5-4 on a Jahnke ace serve. The Bucs never trailed again, although St. Peter would continue to come from behind and tie the game – the last time at 15-all.
That is when Hassing took over the game and accounted for six of BEA’s last 10 points, including four vicious kills and two dink returns over the net.
BEA closed out the last game with the same score as game two, 25-17.
“The girls saw the court well tonight,” Coach Nawrocki says. “They hit their spots well. It comes down to not having a lot of unforced errors.”
Hennigsen had a big night for the Bucs with 32 set assists, 13 digs and went a perfect 24 of 24 at the serving line with 18 points and two aces.
Hassing unleashed 18 kills in the three games, while Jahnke added eight and Warmka seven. Jahnke also was 17 of 18 serving with 11 points and three aces.
Hoyt had 13 digs and two ace blocks, while Nicole Carr had 10 digs and five set assists.
“Nicole is our backup setter on the right side, and she played her position perfectly tonight,” the coach commented. “Once again this was a total team effort. They all work hard, in games and in practices.”
USC 3, Madelia 0
The United South Central Rebels volleyball team also continues in post-season play with a 3-0 sweep of Madelia on Thursday night.
The scores were 25-14, 25-19, 25-22.
The Rebels will play Martin County West on Tuesday night.