FAIRMONT - The Waseca volleyball program doesn't have a history of winning, claiming two South Central Conference victories last season after winning just one regular-season match the previous year.
This season, the Bluejays have compiled a 2-3 overall record, and after blanking the Fairmont Cardinals, 25-19, 25-15, 25-20, on Thursday at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont, are 2-1 in the SCC.
"There is not a history of winning in our program. And so for us to have won two games already and two conference games, is really exciting for us," said Waseca head coach Karen Simmons.
GETTING VERTICAL — Fairmont hitter Kersten Shantz (middle) elevates to crank a spike as Waseca’s Moriah Burdick (4) and Mikayla Rolling (right) prepare to defend the play during South Central Conference volleyball action Thursday night at Cardinal Gym. Fairmont’s Sydney Glienke (left) and Courtney Mosloski (17) watch the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
The Bluejays' senior-dominant lineup rained attacks and tips over the net, and held off the rallying Cardinals in the third game for the sweep.
"They played fantastic and they refused to let anything hit the floor on their side," said Fairmont head coach Brad Haugen.
The Cardinals grabbed the first lead in the third game, thanks to one of Kayla Lardy's six kills and Kersten Shantz firing an Emily Kim set assist to the far corner to make it 2-0.
Both teams traded points until at 5-5, Moriah Burdick smacked one of her three kills to start a rally for the Bluejays.
Courtney Mosloski's attack sailed long to give Waseca the 7-5 lead, before a missed pass by the Cardinals and an ace serve from Lexie Shifflett gave the visitors a 9-5 advantage.
Kim then sent one of her 16 set assists to Mosloski on the following play for the blast down the middle to cut the deficit to 9-7.
Haley Harder fired an ace serve to keep the Cardinal rally going, before Kim recorded back-to-back set assists on kills by Sydney Glienke and Mosloski to take the 10-9 lead.
Bailey Grubish tallied one of her six kills on a Shifflett assist to stall the Fairmont rally and tie it at 10-10.
The Cardinals tried to gain control again, trailing 14-12, with Lardy floating a set to the end line to make it 14-13.
Waseca's Mackenzie Madsen sent a kill into the net to even the game for the eighth time at 14-14.
The Bluejays then capitalized on a Fairmont error to regain serving possession as Jordan Paulson rotated back to the line.
From there, Quinn Harguth and Rolling traded attacks, with Harguth sizzling one over the block of Lardy and Arens, before Rolling scored two in a row to take an 18-16 lead.
Madsen, who tallied five kills for the Bluejays, scored on with a tip, before Harguth smashed one of Paulson's 13 set assists down on the sideline to go up 20-16.
"We have great senior leadership on this team. It has been a struggle trying to change the recent history, but they work together as a team and have worked very hard toward the mission of winning more games," said Simmons.
Glienke, who recorded 15 digs, ended the Bluejays' five-point run, scoring one of her three kills on a Bluejay pass over the net.
After another of Rolling's four attacks put the ball in Waseca's court, Shantz stole it right back with one of her five kills down the line on a Kim assist.
Kristen Campe, who led the Cardinal defense with 21 digs, smoked a serve for an ace to cut the Cardinals deficit to 21-19, before Shantz found the line again to make it 21-20.
A Fairmont passing error sent the ball back to the Waseca side, where Burdick tipped a ball down to make it 23-20.
Burdick put the finishing touches on Waseca's three-game conference win, sending a Paulson assist to the floor for the 25-20 victory.
Fairmont (2-6, 1-2 SCC) hosts Martin County West in a rescheduled match at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Cardinal Gym.
Waseca swept Fairmont, 25-23, 25-18, in B-squad action on Thursday in Fairmont.
Katelyn Noah recorded a team-leading four kills for the Cardinals, while Morgan Seifried doled out five set assists.
Sarah Tschumperlin and Alyssa Westcott tallied two kills each, while Westcott added two set assists in the match.
Payton Walser went a perfect 7-for-7 serving, while Tahnisha Jimenez went 8-for-9 serving with one kill.
Waseca outlasted Fairmont, 25-10, 21-25, 15-8, in C-squad action on Thursday in Fairmont.
Sarah Schellpeper went 7-for-7 from the service line, with two blocks, while Stephanie Kalas and Madison Hennager went 9-for-10 and 10-for-11 serving, respectively.
Martin County West 3, Truman 0 - Kate Thiesse pounded out 12 kills to complement 10 digs and four blocks to steer the Mavericks to a 25-11, 25-13, 25-15 victory over the Truman Bluejays during Valley Conference volleyball action Thursday night in Trimont.
McKenna Taylor contributed five kills and three blocks to the balanced MCW attack, while Hailey Leiding and Reilly Geistfeld each supplied five kills. Leiding also generated five digs, Jordan Gregory tallied four kills and five digs, while setter Kennedy Janssen distributed 22 assists to go with six digs.
Autumn Smith chalked up 14 digs to complement two service aces for the Mavericks, Molly Klima tallied six digs and two ace serves, Haley Jensen contributed seven digs and two aces from the line, Ellie Kuehl doled out five set assists, while Summer Schuneman and Kyra Dorr chipped in four and two digs, respectively.
Alexis Jahnz scooped up 20 digs to go with one kill and one block to top Truman, while Emily Zaharia supplied 13 digs, three blocks and a pair of kills.
Cydney Kilian distributed five set assists for the Bluejays, Savannah Hodge made two kills, while Hanna Hartman delivered two blocks.
Martin County West (7-1, 2-0 Valley) faces Minneota in the opening round of the Jackson County Central Tournament on Saturday.
Truman (2-6, 1-2) plays host to Martin Luther/GHEC on Tuesday night.
Alden-Conger 3, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain 1 - The Alden-Conger Knights outlasted the Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain Knights 25-19, 25-11, 25-27, 25-12 in Valley Conference action on Thursday in Alden.
Hunter Payne distributed 16 set assists for the visiting Knights, while Kristi Oberdieck smacked seven kills.
Amber Schulz tallied 12 digs, while Alexis Brummond made 13 digs for ML/GHEC.
Martin Luther/GHEC (1-8, 0-3 Valley) travels to Truman on Tuesday night.
New Ulm 3, Blue Earth Area 1 - The Eagles downed the Bucs, 24-26, 25-16, 25-22, 25-19, in South Central Conference action on Thursday in New Ulm.
Ciarra Olson pounded six kills, made 13 digs and went a perfect 17-for-17 from the serving line for nine points and one ace to lead the Bucs.
Audrey McDonald and Devyn Braunshausen each tallied five kills, while McDonald added 21 digs. Braunshausen went 17-for-18 from the service line with seven points and one ace, along with making 15 digs.
Nicole Krinke doled out 15 set assists, made 15 digs and went 14-for-15 serving with six points in the match.
Blue Earth Area (2-8, 0-3 SCC) travels to Fairmont on Tuesday night.