Knights slip past Bucs, 3-2
An injury and a five-set loss resulted in two heartbreaking setbacks for the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers volleyball team Tuesday night.
Before the match, Jenny Smith landed awkwardly after elevating to spike a ball in warmups. The senior leader was carried off the court, unable to play a single point.
Smith underwent an MRI Wednesday, which revealed a fully torn ACL. The injury will end her season due to a six month recovery period.
“Jenny has played varsity since she was a freshman and has had true court presence,” head coach Donna Nawrocki says. “Our girls stepped it up knowing that she was down.”
During the match, BEA battled Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial in a five-set, momentum shifting match.
The Knights eventually outlasted the Buccaneers 15-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11.
“We did a nice job in the first game,” Nawrocki says. “We had unforced errors in the second and fourth games and gave the other team too many free points.”
The Bucs dominated game one, winning 25-15. BEA took a commanding 11-4 lead after Annemarie Hoyt served seven consecutive points.
“We came out ready to play in game one,” Nawrocki says. “After the first set, they made some adjustments in the middle of the court, which caused us fits.”
The Knights responded in the second set to win 25-23. BEA was down 20-24 in the set rallying within one point after a Sara Warmka tip and a Krista Hassing block.
The set ended controversially when officials blew the final point dead. Originally, LCWM was called for a back row attack. The call was later overruled, and the point was awarded to the Knights giving them the 25-23 set two victory.
BEA bounced back to win the third set after rallying from a 22-19 deficit.
Macy Henningsen led the Buc charge with two side spin aces and a monster block to tie the game. Warmka then gave BEA a 24-23 lead when she rose up for a kill from her outside hitter position. The Bucs sealed the third set victory when an LCWM spike attempt soared long.
LCWM responded in set four, winning 25-20. The Knights controlled the entire set establishing an early lead never surrendering their advantage.
Set five mirrored the fourth set. LCWM raced out to an early lead eventually winning the set 15-11. A spike clipping the back line on the set’s first point propelled the Knights to an early lead. BEA rallied to tie the set at nine points apiece after Hoyt slammed a kill from the middle of the court.
The Bucs couldn’t keep pace with the Knights after rallying to tie the set. A viscous spike from 6-foot-1 Karina Schroeder ended the contest giving LCWM the 15-11 set win and a 3-2 match victory.
Despite the loss, Nawrocki was pleased with how her team dealt with the adversity of losing Smith in warmups.
“We had girls filling in, with Warmka playing outside hitter and Nicole Carr on the right side,” Nawrocki says. “I thought they did a nice job of competing tough.” Hassing and Jahnke led the Bucs with 12 kills apiece. Warmka finished the night with eight kills.
Henningsen contributed 28 assists from her setter position.
Three Bucs finished the match with double-digit digs. Hoyt led the Bucs with 14, Henningsen finished with 11 and Nicole Carr tallied 10.
Hoyt was the top server for the Bucs going 23-26 from the serving line.
BEA will play Le Sueur-Henderson on Thursday after the Register’s deadline.
Nawrocki says the team must get used to their new roles on the court after the Smith injury.
“They have played so long together in their positions, we are just going to have to work on having new neighbors,” Nawrocki says. “We are going to have to get comfortable with each other again and get used to who is covering what.”