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Saints beat Waseca in four sets, earn split of season series

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

On Thursday night, the St. James volleyball program earned its third victory on the year in a four-set victory over Waseca, rebounding from a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Bluejays earlier this year.

In each of the first two sets, St. James built large leads, only to see Waseca make the sets close before the Saints closed out the games.

Up 11-8 in set one, a 10-0 run by the Saints was matched by an 11-2 run by Waseca. Up 22-19 late in the set, kills by Addie Bowers and Taylor Sodeman polished off a 25-19 set victory.

In set two, the Saints jumped out to a lead of 10-2, and held a 21-13 advantage late in the set. Waseca battled back to cut the Saints lead to 22-20 before the Saints closed out the set 25-21.

"We came out with intensity," said head coach Jodi Geistfeld of her teams play through the first two sets. "We were attacking the ball and passing the ball. Then I think we kind of got overconfident and gave them a little bit of a run by getting sloppy in our passing."

Down 2-0, Waseca took advantage of unforced Saints errors and stellar serving from Megan Nelson to take a much more balanced third set 25-20.

The fourth and decisive set saw the Jays and Saints trade punches with nine ties and four lead changes in the set.

With Waseca up 19-18, kills by Camryn McQuery and Kloe Wadd forced Geistfeld to call a timeout.

"We got behind by three and I took the timeout and I told the girls that we're not done," said Geistfeld. "We had been tipping and tipping and it's too easy for them if you tip the ball all the time so I said we had to attack, and the last seven points we attacked the ball, and they weren't prepared for it."

Kills from Sodeman and Bowers, as well as a long attack from Audrey Williams, had the game knotted up at 21.

Following a Waseca timeout, Bowers took over, with a pair of big kills and a block to push the Saints to victory, 25-21.  

"Addie came through at the end," said Geistfeld. "I think she was determined that she was going to put the ball down on the floor. And she can jump so dang high that it's going to go right over the block. But it takes a good pass for her to hit it like that."

Bowers finished the match with six kills, two blocks and five digs.

Serving was a strong suit for the Saints offense in the first and second sets. On the night, the Saints went 79/86 (91%) from the service line. On serve receives, however, the Saints weren't nearly as polished.

"We've been receiving serves really well recently so I'm not sure what happened," said Geistfeld. "They had one server who was a bit of a floater and if you swung your arms any way it wasn't going to Maddie [Brey]. Lately we've been passing pretty good so I guess we're going to have to go back and work on it."

Brey finished the night with 27 set assists, three kills, six digs, a block, and a perfect 27/27 serving with five aces.

Kelsey Grunewald, who missed the earlier match against Waseca, finished with eight kills, 13 digs, a block, and 9/11 serving.

Chloe Mickelson had six aces on 14/18 serving, seven kills, and 10 digs.

Taylor Sodeman finished 19/20 from the service line with two aces, six kills, and one block.