MARSHALL - Playing their only match of the week, the Marshall volleyball team came away with the win, though not as strongly as they would have liked.
The Tigers remained unbeaten in the Southwest Conference with a 25-19, 25-10, 25-17 sweep of Windom Area on Thursday.
"We knew they would play hard. They are always well-coached," said Marshall head coach Dan Westby. "Early-on, we made too many errors."
Photo by Alex Oey
Marshall’s Lexi Saugstad (15) and Marah Mulso (4) attempt to defend the hit of Windom Area’s Katie Kelly during a Southwest Conference match Thursday in Marshall.
In the first set, Marshall (14-3, 3-0 SWC) started out sluggish, allowing the Eagles (10-5-1, 3-1 SWC) to hang around until a three-point serving streak from Hannah Bennett, which included a pair of Callie Graff kills, gave Marshall a 10-8 lead.
"We haven't really played for a while," said Graff. "We were just grinding. We couldn't get it figured out."
A two-point run with Kenzie Beekman serving and another three-point run with Rachel Sanow at the line allowed the Tigers to build a 20-14 lead.
Windom Area got it back to within four, but the Tigers pushed it back to six and a Beekman kill gave Marshall a 25-19 win.
"They served tough," said Marshall's Sydney Griffin. "It was tough to control."
In the second set, it seemed like the Tigers threw the competitive switch, taking a 7-1 lead to start the set. Lexi Saugstad served the streak, which included kills from Graff and Beekman.
"We came out and we cleaned up some of our errors," Graff said. "We had more genuine energy."
Neither team was able to build much momentum for the next several points but, with Griffin serving, Marshall went on a six-point run, including two Griffin ace serves, to take a 23-9 lead.
"We served tough," Griffin said. "We limited our errors."
Another Beekman kill ended the set with a 25-10 Tiger win.
In the third set, Marshall started with an early lead, leading by as many as three, but Windom Area's Miki Bolin gave the Eagles their first multi-point lead of the night. Marshall was forced to call timeout after Windom Area rattled off four straight points, taking a 13-11 lead.
"You could see Windom's confidence building," said Westby. "All of a sudden they turned it up and started playing hard. At that point we dug ourselves a pretty good hole."
Beekman put an end to the run and, moments later, stepped back and served a seven-point streak that featured a block and kill from Jackie Petrich, whose play off the bench helped get the Tigers going again.
"Jackie Petrich went in there and gave us a spark," Westby said. "She had a couple blocks at the net and made a couple positive plays for us. That kind of got everyone else going in that third set.
The Eagles were forced to take both their timeouts during the stretch and found themselves down 20-15 after the dust settled.
"We had to get back to our serving," said Griffin. "That's our key point. Our serving."
Marshall didn't allow Windom Area to regain any traction and finished the sweep with a 25-17 win.
"We have to build off tonight," said Graff. "We have to have more energy and play better than we did tonight."
Marshall will be in action again on Tuesday when it travels to New Ulm, followed by a trip to Worthington on Thursday before heading to Lakeville for the Lakeville North Invitational.
"It's not an easy stretch," said Westby. "We have six road games coming up, so we have to be ready to go."
Windom Area19 10 17
Marshall25 25 25
Serving (good-att-ace): W-Miki Bolin 11-13-2, Hannah Redmond 6-7-1; M-Kenzie Beekman 20-21-2; Sydney Griffin 10-12-2.
Kills: W-Rachel Sorensen 6, Kelsey Hanefeld 5, Megan Theesfeld 5; M-Beekman 16, Griffin 8, Callie Graff 7, Marah Mulso 4.
Digs: W-Alyssa Fast 18, Hanefeld 6; M-Hannah Bennett 16, Griffin 12, Kenzie Beekman 11, Rachel Sanow 8.
Set Assists: W-Miki Bolin 11; M-Griffin 23, Sanow 15.
Blocks: W-Katie Kelly 1, Porsha Porath 1, Michaela Hacker 1; M-Mulso 2, Sanow 1, Graff 1, Jackie Petrich 1.