By Jeff Meder
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM — Wabasso swept Minnesota Valley Lutheran 25-15, 25-22, 25-14 on Thursday in a Tomahawk Conference volleyball match.
It was the seventh consecutive win for the Rabbits.
The Rabbits wanted to keep their winning streak intact, while the Chargers were hoping to secure their first conference win of the season. MVL got its first two victories in a recent tournament.
“Those two wins put some pep in our step,” Chargers head coach Amy Pearson said. “We came ready to play tonight.”
That “pep in their step” was evident during the entire match. The first set saw four ties and two lead changes.
Wabasso’s Kelsey Frank bumped the ball to Alivia Olson for a kill. A few plays later, Frank set the ball up for Camryn Irbeck for a kill. That made it 12-6 for the Rabbits. Two plays later, Sara Carlson got back-to-back ace serves, which made it 15-6.
After than, Wabasso started to pull away, leading by as many as 12 points. Frank hit the ball to Audrey Johnson, who got it to Olson for a tip which made it 24-12 for Wabasso. A tip by Johnson earned the winning set point.
The second set was the closest one of the three sets. There were 11 ties and seven lead changes. Neither team was able to seize control because it was a back-and-forth affair.
Midway through it, MVL got a kill which tied it at 14-14. Ava Munsen’s kill regained the lead for MVL at 15-14.
MacKenzie Merseth and Munsen got a double block for a 16-14 score for MVL.
Wabasso’s Lyla Kittelson’s soft tap over the net cut the Rabbits deficit to 1 point. MVL knocked the ball out of bounds, and it was tied at 16-16.
Wabasso hit the ball too many times and that gave MVL the lead of 21-20. Merseth’s tip added another point to the Charger lead. After a long rally, Avery Carlson’s tip made it 22-21. Wabasso got an ace serve to tie it.
The tide turned in favor of the Rabbits on back-to-back plays. Natasha Doubler and Irbeck got double blocks. An MVL player missed the ball at the net on the next play, which gave Wabasso the winning set point.
“We had some lulls together which hurt us,” Pearson said. “If we had spread them out, we might’ve won the set.”
The third set started out with both sides briefly playing even. Olson and Frank got kills and two plays later, Doubler got the ball to Frank, who set up Olson for the kill. Olson got a kill on the next play as well. Frank’s block set up Irbeck for a kill, which made it 10-3 Wabasso.
Later in the set, Doubler and Irbeck got a double block. Irbeck got a kill on the next play before Frank made an ace serve. Carlson and Kittelson got back-to-back kills with Kittleson’s kill coming after a long rally.
MVL was unable to return the ball on the next play, which made it 23-14. An MVL player knocked the ball out of bounds for a 24-14 score for Wabasso. Kittleson and Doubler made a double block on MVL, and the Chargers were not able to return the ball.
Frank had 29 set assists and was 13 for 14 serving with two aces, while Johnson added 12 digs and Sara Carlson had 11 digs and five ace serves. Doubler had 10 digs, while Olson had 11 kills, Avery Carlson had eight kills, Irlbeck added six kills and Kittleson had five kills.
Kerigan Brau led MVL with 15 set assists and 12 digs. Ella Hunter added 12 digs and Lexi Meunier had seven digs. Munsen had nine kills.
Wabasso (14-7, 5-2) hosts Springfield on Tuesday in a Tomahawk Conference matchup. MVL (2-16, 0-6) will host Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart on Tuesday.