MARSHALL - Coming into the last home match of the season, the Marshall volleyball team had one goal: win it for the seniors.
The Tigers did just that, sweeping Redwood Valley 25-9, 25-2, 25-7 in Southwest Conference action on Thursday night.
"I think our seniors were pretty focused. They knew this was their last match here and I think it was extremely important to them," said Marshall head coach Dan Westby. "I think the rest of our kids held up their end of the bargain and played hard."
Photo by Alex Oey
Marshall sophomore middle hitter Callie Graff, middle, hits past the block of Redwood Valley’s Lauren Hanson, left, and Alison Curry during Thursday night’s Southwest Conference match at Marshall High School.
Marshall (20-5 overall, 5-0 SWC) had a solid night from the service line. Out of 75 points scored, three players accounted for 49 points - 16 of them from ace serves. Senior Maci Louwagie led the way, going 27-for-27 with seven ace serves.
"I think a good indicator of focus is we did serve well," Westby said. "Maci had a great night from the service line."
In Game 1, the Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead with Rachel Sanow serving. Kenzie Beekman got a two-point run to make it 10-3 and neither team was able to make another run until Louwagie made a nine-point run to make it 23-7.
A pair of Beekman kills ended the first game at 25-9.
"We wanted to start off strong because sections are coming up," Beekman said.
In the second game, Louwagie started off with the serve and was looking to keep it the whole game.
"We talked before the match that we knew we could beat them," Louwagie said. "We just had to play hard. I just went back there and focused."
Louwagie started out with an ace, and after a pair Cardinal errors and a pair of Beekman kills to go with a block, Redwood Valley (9-12-1, 1-4) called timeout down 6-0. Coming out of the timeout, another Cardinal mistake was followed by a pair of aces by Louwagie to go with two more Beekman kills and a kill from senior Angela Tauer. Redwood Valley was forced to call its second timeout down 12-0. Louwagie had a bigger number on her mind during the second timeout.
"I'm thinking about the 25-0 thing," Louwagie said. "I wanted to get there, but I also just wanted to help my team."
The Tigers capitalized on a Redwood mistake, then got a block by Callie Graff and another pair of Beekman kills to go up 16-0 before a hitting error finally gave the ball to the Cardinals, who found themselves down 16-1.
Redwood Falls was able to get one more point before Sanow went back to serve with the Tigers up 18-2 and scored five of her seven ace serves on the way to a 25-2 Tiger win.
"We talk a lot about not getting surprised," Westby said. "The other team is trying so we have to prepare ourselves for that, and I thought our kids did a good job of that. It was very seldom they hit a ball we weren't ready for."
In the third game, Marshall built up a 5-1 lead with Tauer serving, but Redwood Valley went on a run to cut the lead to 6-5. On the next point, the Cardinals' Alison Curry put down a kill to tie the game at 6-all.
"I think we had three hitting errors in a row in that set. Those are things we are trying to clean up and we just need to do that," Westby said. "We talked a lot this season about not allowing teams to go on any kind of run, and if they do go on a run, it has to be on points they earn versus us giving them points."
The Tigers quickly got back on pace after the slowdown and built the lead back to 13-7.
Like in the previous two games, a Marshall server - this time Hannah Bennett - stepped back and put together a large run.
Bennett served 12 straight points, including a pair of aces, to give the Tigers a 25-7 win and the sweep.
"We have a lot of things to work on," Louwagie said. "We have two games left and we want to finish strong, get practicing and get ready for sections."
The Tigers will hit the road for their final two matches.
"We go down to Tracy and play Tracy-Milroy-Balaton on Monday. That will be a tough match. They have a good crowd and student section," Westby said. "We are going to have to be ready to play there.
"Then we jump on the bus and head down to Luverne on Tuesday night. That will be our final conference match. We want to take care of business down there."
Redwood Valley9 2 7
Marshall 25 25 25
MARSHALL INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Serving (good-att-ace): Maci Louwagie 27-27-7, Rachel Sanow 13-13-7, Hannah Bennett 9-9-2.
Kills: Kenzie Beekman 17, Sydney Griffin 10, Angela Tauer 3.
Digs: Beekman 9, Griffin 9, Bennett 8, Morgan Saugstad 6.
Set Assists: Griffin 13, Sanow 12.
Blocks: Beekman 2, Tauer 1, Griffin 1.