MARSHALL - At times this season, the Marshall Tiger volleyball squad has struggled to close out sets. The Tigers experienced the most adverse effects of allowing teams to linger in losses to Lakeville North and Waconia over the weekend. But Monday night, no such struggles were evident.
Marshall cruised to a 3-0 sweep of MACCRAY to begin homecoming week on a positive note. Eight different Tigers recorded kills during the match, won by Marshall with scores of 25-10, 25-12 and 25-15.
"Once we got to 20, I'm not sure (MACCRAY) scored," Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. "That's something that we didn't do this weekend, so it was good to see our kids come out and do that tonight."
Marshall’s Kenzie Beekman rises for a hit during the first set of the Tigers’ 3-0 win over MACCRAY Monday night in Marshall. Beekman finished the match with 19 kills.
The finishing prowess of the Tigers was on display early, as Marshall closed out the first set on an 8-3 run.
During the second set, the Tigers found themselves trailing MACCRAY 5-4. It was the last time Marshall would trail on the evening, as it proceeded to go on a 9-3 run and force a Wolverine timeout after a scorching kill by Sydney Griffin.
MACCRAY could not cut the deficit to less than five and watched as the Tigers rattled off six straight points to end the set.
Marshall stormed out to an early 10-3 lead in the third set, with Kenzie Beekman tallying three of her team-high 19 kills during the run. The Wolverines followed a timeout with a 7-3 run of their own to cut the Marshall lead down to 13-10. It was the closest MACCRAY would get for the rest of the match, as Marshall outscored the Wolverines 12-5 down the stretch.
Throughout the match, the Tigers managed to get playing time for several younger members of the varsity roster. Though not an intended benefit of facing a smaller school, Westby appreciated the opportunity to develop some underclassmen.
"We're going to need those kids, not only in the future, but down the road this season," Westby said. "It's great experience for those kids. I thought all those kids really handled it well. For some of them, it was their first varsity match."
Hannah Bennett, a junior libero, helped ease the transition between the veteran and rookie units with 28 digs and consistent effort.
"In spite of all the substitutions we made, Hannah was still a leader out there," Westby said. "She really helped that transition go smoothly. I thought Hannah was solid."
Another Tiger who had a strong match was setter Rachel Sanow. She led the Tigers in serving, going 14-for-14 and also picked up 14 set assists to lead the team. Sydney Griffin had 12 set assists in the match, along with five kills, 11 digs and two ace blocks. Sophomore Callie Graff also picked up a pair of ace blocks during the match.
The Tigers (12-4 overall) return to the court on Thursday, where they will look to remain unbeaten in the Southwest Conference (2-0) on the year as they host the Worthington Trojans (7-4-2 overall).
MACCRAY10 12 15
Marshall25 25 25
Marshall Individual Statistics
Serving (good-att-aces): Rachel Sanow 14-14-0, Kenzie Beekman 10-10-2, Maci Louwagie 9-9-1.
Kills: Beekman 19, Sydney Griffin 5.
Digs: Hannah Bennett 28, Beekman 13, Steph Baker 11, Griffin 11.
Set Assists: Sanow 14, Griffin 12.
Blocks: Emma Doyle 2, Griffin 2, Callie Graff 2, Louwagie 2.
MACCRAY Individual Statistics
Serving (good-att-aces): Brooklyn Gould 12-12-0, Aleah Schwitters 7-8-0, Molly Friese 5-6-1.
Kills: Ashley Dirksen 9, Gould 5.
Digs: Friese 28, Gould 15, Dirksen 11.
Set Assists: Schwitters 12, Ali Siverhus 8.