Bucs go to 8-0 in the conference
The Buccaneers volleyball team did more than improve their conference record to 8-0 with their three games to one victory over Waseca on Thursday night. They also guaranteed themselves a share of the conference title for the first time since 2003.
With only two conference games remaining on the schedule, they hold a two game lead over the 6-2 New Ulm Eagles.
Blue Earth Area opened the night by defeating the visiting Blue Jays 25-18 in game one. The Bucs established an early lead and maintained a margin of five to seven points throughout the game.
Game two was more of a struggle early on as the teams battled back and forth. Waseca was leading 9-8 when Sydney Ristau stepped to the service line. By the time she was done the Bucs had gained a 13-9 advantage and were on their way to a 25-15 triumph and a two-game lead.
A scrappy Bluejay team didn’t pack it in however, and after trailing 22-18 in game three, came back to overtake the Bucs and get a 25-22 win.
“Waseca started hitting the corners,” says Coach Donna Lee. “We were sitting on our heals and they out-hustled us.”
The momentum had clearly shifted and Waseca jumped out to a 6-1 lead in game four. The Bucs pulled to within two, trailing 6-4 but the Jays came right back to extend the lead back to five points at 9-4.
A timeout by the Bucs seemed to be effective as they narrowed the gap, finally pulling into a 12-12 tie.
The Bucs held a 16-14 advantage before four unanswered Bluejay points put the visitors ahead 18-16. The host team called another time out.
“I reminded the team of their goal (to go unbeaten in the conference) and told them they have to earn it.” says Lee. “We didn’t want the match to go to a fifth game.”
The girls responded again, this time taking a 22-18 lead before Waseca narrowed the gap to 22-20.
A kill by Ristau and an ace serve by Danika Stindtman brought the Bucs within one point of victory with a 24-20 lead. The Bluejays mounted one more comeback making the score 24-22 before a Ristau block ended the match with the Bucs winning 25-22.
“I’m proud of the girls, they did what they had to do,” comments Lee.
Serving was once again a strength for the Bucs as they hit on 95 of 99 serves.
They were led by Jenny Smith who was a perfect 22 for 22 with two aces, followed by Kirsten Johanson who had four aces to go with her 21 for 22 serving. Morgan Dickman was 10 of 11 with three aces and Stindtman hit 14 out of 14 with one ace.
Smith had 20 digs out of a possible 20 while Stindtman was 10 out of 13 in dig efficiency.
Stindtman led the team with 12 kills followed by Kate Hassing with eight, Smith and Ristau each with five. Hassing led the team with five ace blocks.
Johanson recorded 29 set assists.
Following their invitational, which they hosted on Oct. 4, the Bucs travel to Jackson on Oct. 7 for a non-conference match. They resume conference play on Oct. 9 when they travel to St. Peter to take on the Saints.