Volleyball Season Ends at the Hands of Martin Luther

Joe Stark
jstark@css.edu

The No. 5 seeded College of St. Scholastica volleyball team traveled to Martin Luther College to take on the No. 4 seeded Knights in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) single elimination tournament Monday night. The winner of the game advances to take on the nationally ranked University of Northwestern Eagles.

The previous two matches between these two teams went to five games, showing how evenly matched these teams are. Game one was crucial for both teams to gain momentum for the rest of the match. It was a slow start for the Saints as Martin Luther used the home court advantage to pull out to a commanding 6-0 lead. The Saints would then get on the board, but it would not get much prettier as Martin Luther extended the lead to 12-3. A few more points for the Saints were mixed in, but the lead seemed to grow uncontrollably to a 22-10 lead for Martin Luther. CSS seemed down for the count, but they were just getting started. They scored four straight points, and then Martin Luther answered with one. That would be it for the scoring however for Martin Luther. Yes, you read that right, down 22-10 the Saints went on a 15-1 run, scoring eleven straight points to take the set 25-23.

Game two was not as streaky as the first. The first part of the game was back and forth with both teams tied at thirteen. Again the teams would trade points until 15-16 when Martin Luther broke the game wide open, scoring eight straight and taking a 24-15 lead. This would normally be set over, but with how the first set ended, Scholastica still had hope of coming back to win. This time however, the comeback fell short with Scholastica scoring three but then giving up a point and losing 25-18.

With the match being tied back up at 1-1, both teams were really looking to take control of the match. Neither team was able to get much of an advantage in game three with the lead never greater than three in this game. There were no runs to speak of in this game, as each team was able to get a side out before it got out of control. With the game tied at 25, the Saints got a kill by Christaia Houser off a beautiful set by Espi Austvold and took the 26-25 lead and went to set point. Emily Bounds then had a great serve that was returned right into the block of Houser and Kelsi Rippberger and the Saints took the set 27-25.

Scholastica now had a 2-1 lead and would like nothing more than to end it in four games. Martin Luther had other ideas. CSS was never able to get into a rhythm as every point they scored was answered by two of Martin Luther’s. They struggled to get a side out and this led to a big lead by the Knights and a set win of 25-18. This moved the match into a decisive, winner take all set five.

Set five was a wild one to say the least. It was a strong start by the Knights with 7-1 run right out of the gates. With the set only being to fifteen this would be hard to come back from, but the Saints found a way. It was slow and methodical, cutting into the lead point by point and finally tying it at fourteen. This would be the last point the Saints scored on the season as Martin Luther scored the next two points, winning the set 16-14 and winning the match 3-2.

The Saints were led by Brooke Schermann with twelve kills and three aces. Houser had five blocks to go along with her eleven kills. Defensively, McKenzie Orr had twenty-five digs.

The Saints will have to say goodbye to one senior this year in Christaia Houser, which will be big shoes to fill for whoever steps up to fill her vacancy.