Marshall head volleyball coach Dan Westby admitted that his team came out a little jittery in its season-opening match against Alexandria.
But through the course of the game, the defending Class AA state champions got into a groove, and the Tigers ended their first game of the season on a positive note with a 3-0 non-conference road victory against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Marshall won 25-18, 25-16, 25-11.
"After we calmed down," Westby said, "we were pretty effective attacking-wise."
Junior outside hitter Kenzie Beekman paced the Tigers' offensive attack with a game-high 23 kills. Sydney Griffin added six kills, and also had a team-high 19 set assists.
Also clicking for Marshall on Tuesday was solid passing. In the back row, libero Hannah Bennett set the Tigers up with 10 digs, while Steph Baker added five digs. Along the net, Rachel Sanow added to Marshall's 6-2 attack with 14 set assists.
"The other thing we did a nice job with is we passed the ball well, especially as the match went on," Westby said.
At the net, the Tigers' blockers made life tough for the Cardinals, with Griffin, Maci Louwagie and Emma Doyle finishing with two blocks apiece.
Getting the first win of the season was key for the Tigers, especially with a tough early test coming against Bethlehem Academy. Traveling to Faribault for the game, Friday's contest will be between the No. 1-ranked team in Class AA (Marshall) against the No. 1-ranked team in Class A (Bethlehem Academy).
"It's a tough early-season match, no doubt about it," Westby said. "Their place is always difficult. We'll have to continue to improve if we want to compete."
Marshall25 25 25
Alexandria18 16 11
Serving (good-att-att) Maci Louwagie 14-14-0, Rachel Sanow 16-17-0, Hannah Bennett 13-15-2.
Kills: Kenzie Beekman 23, Sydney Griffin 6.
Digs: Bennett 10, Steph Baker 5.
Set Assists: Griffin 19, Sanow 14.
Blocks: Griffin 2, Louwagie 2, Emma Doyle 2.