Volleyball team takes 2nd in SCC
Blue Earth Area claimed sole position of second place in the South Central Conference with its three games to one victory over the visiting St. James Saints last Tuesday evening. The scores were 27-25, 25-21, 22-25, and 25-17.
The victory gives the Bucs a final conference record of 8-2. New Ulm claimed the conference title with a 9-1 record.
St. James came to town trailing BEA by one game. A Saints victory would have pulled them into a tie with the Bucs for second place in the conference.
The Bucs had defeated the Saints in their first meeting of the year but the Saints had been without their starting senior setter, Ali Curry, who was out with an injury. This time the Saints came to town at full strength.
The first game of the night may have been the biggest game of the evening. St. James served first and scored the first three points, before giving the ball back to the Bucs on a long serve past the end line.
Jenny Smith’s two service aces helped the Bucs take a 5-3 lead. They would hold their biggest lead of the game at 11-8.
St. James tied the game at 11 and 12 before pulling ahead of BEA. They opened up a four-point lead at 20-16. A side out – and a Katie Krieger stuff – cut the Saints’ lead to 20-18.
A Saints kill shot was blocked out of bounds by the Bucs giving the visitors a 21-18 lead. Moments later the Saints scored to take a 23-20 lead, which led to a Bucs’ time out.
The time out stopped the Saints’ momentum, as a net serve gave the ball back to the Bucs and cut the Saints’ lead to 23-21.
With Jenny Smith serving, Sydney Ristau and Krieger combined for an ace block to cut the deficit to one point. The Bucs scored the next point to tie the game at 23.
The Saints scored on a kill shot to take a 24-23 lead and serve for the win. However, a net serve by the Saints tied the game at 24.
St. James connected on another kill shot to once again set up game point.
This time its serve sailed past the end line to tie the game at 25-25 and give the service back to the Bucs.
Ristau stepped to the service line and, with the aid of a kill by Smith and a hit out of bounds by the Saints, the Bucs were able to claim the first game 27-25.
Game two was just as close as the first game. There were 12 ties in the game with the last tie occurring at 17-17.
The Saints hit a kill shot into the net and Ashley Olson and Krista Hassing followed with ace blocks to give the Bucs a 20-17 lead.
St. James pulled to within two points of BEA at 23-21, but Ristau slammed one home off of an Olson set and Anne Marie Hoyt scored off a block to sew up the 25-21 victory.
It looked as though the Bucs were going to send the crowd home early with a three game sweep when they jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in game three. The Saints pulled to within two at 12-10 but the Bucs seemed to have things in control when a Krieger ace serve put them up 18-11. Blue Earth Area still held a 21-17 lead when the Saints’ Mariah Koch stepped to the line. Koch served the next four points including two service aces to knot the contest at 21 apiece.
Smith’s kill gave the Bucs the temporary lead, but a long serve by the Bucs tied the game at 22. The Saints scored the next three points to win 25-22.
The Buccaneers led the whole way in game four, but the Saints kept it close in the early going. St. James trailed 8-7, but an ace block by Hassing and a stuff by Smith made it 10-7 in favor of BEA.
Each team hit a kill shot out of bounds to make it 11-8. An Olson service ace increased the Bucs’ lead to 12-8.
The Bucs held a 14-10 lead when Krieger stepped to the service line and delivered six straight points – with five of the points coming on service aces. Blue Earth Area now owned a 10-point lead.
St. James made a run at Blue Earth Area and narrowed the gap to 22-17. However, a kill by Smith and two service aces by Hassing gave the Bucs the final three points for the 25-17 victory.
“You always know that St. James is going to give you a good game,” says Bucs’ coach Donna Nawrocki. “Our girls played hard and didn’t give up. I was proud of their effort.”
Olson led the Bucs with 21 set assists. Ristau, Smith, and Hoyt each collected seven kills.
Smith was a perfect 24 of 24 from the service line for 15 points and three aces. Krieger hit 20 of 22 serves for 13 points and seven aces.
Ristau, Krieger and Hassing each had four ace blocks. Hassing led the team with 14 digs followed by Olson with nine and Smith with eight.
The girls play in a tournament at Rochester Oct. 23 – 24, and then return home to face Windom on Monday night, Oct. 27.