PREP VOLLEYBALL: RTR cruises past Edgerton in three set win

Photo by Lacey Barke RTR’s Tina Haroldson (6) and Madison Witte (9) go up for a block during their match against Edgerton on Tuesday. The Knights won 3-0

TYLER – It was a night of high emotions on the court as RTR seniors played their last home volleyball game in their high school careers. Edgerton worked hard in an attempt to keep pace with Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Tuesday night, but the Dutchmen seemed to always be one step behind the Knights who had a better game effort. RTR won in a sweep 25-23, 25-17 and 25-19.

Senior outside hitter Makenzie Buchert said that even though their team wasn’t at its full potential, they still played a good game. “We played decent, but we weren’t at our full potential,” she said. “A few of us got a few records, and we played above the other team’s level and did pretty well.” Buchert said that the seniors led by example tonight. “All of the seniors really led by example,” she said. “They didn’t get down if something went bad; they brought each other up, and that’s how we won the game.”

The first set had both teams competing for the lead and staying tied most of the set; this close point trend between the teams occurred in all three sets of the night. Edgerton put blocks up in an attempt to shut down outside hitters Lexi Wendland and Tina Haroldson, however, the Dutchmen failed to implement them correctly and ended up falling behind. Despite this, it was a close match until the end when RTR managed to sneak by, winning the set by two points.

RTR head coach Daynica Brown’s outlook on the game was similar to Buchert’s in that both ladies believed their team could have played a better game. ” I think that in general with having a high (energy) game last night, it went well,” she said. “We could have played better, but it went well after having a high intensity game yesterday night and then coming into a game like this.” Brown stated that this game being the last home game affected her team’s playing. “I believe that communication and maintaining energy were two of the biggest things we could work on. When you have the last home season and there’s a lot of seniors, the emotions are running high. All of those feelings affected the playing a little bit.”

Right away in the second set freshman Haley Muenchow delayed Edgerton’s offense with two impressive back-to-back blocks. RTR saw an error on the serving line which gave the Dutchmen a lucky break. Despite minor setbacks such as this, the Knights adjusted all when aspects in the game weren’t going their way. The team displayed flexibility on the court and made things work. Haley Muenchow helped her team get to 15-10 with another well placed block. Sophomore Rylie Hess saw some action and helped her team out with a big kill that extended RTR’s lead 21-16. Haroldson’s game was strong, especially on offense where she earned the set deciding point with a sharp kill.

The game was a notable night for Knights game statistics. Haroldson beat her coach Brown’s school record from 1997 with the most kills in one season, and she led the game with 16 kills while Wendland had eight. Libero Kalleigh Carr had 25 digs while Haroldson had 23. Christensen came in with 31 assists. At the serving line players Chloe Hess, Christensen, Ekema, and Madison Muenchow saw aces. Tying for the lead in blocking includes Madison Witte and Haley Muenchow who each contributed 3.

Upperclassmen leadership shined through in the last set for the Knights, and all of the seniors got a chance to contribute on the court. Chloe Hess was able to calculate and place some and hits, tips and blocks while the arms of Haroldson and Wendland helped RTR gain momentum and points, thanks to well timed sets from Christensen. Morgan Johnson and Ashley Borchert played scrappy in the back row and dug up some hard hits delivered from the Dutchmen. Ekema aided her team at the serving line. The game was tied 13-13 until Buchert entered the game to put down a kill that earned the Knights the lead. RTR watched and allowed a few kills to squeak by from Edgerton, but similar to the last set Haroldson delivered another one of her quick kills to win the game for the Knights.

RTR has eight seniors graduating, and Brown noted how each and every one of them has affected their team in a positive way. ” Each one of the seniors has affected the team tremendously,” she said. “You have the ones on the bench like Kenzie Buchert that are just motivators who are constantly yelling and screaming, cheering on their team every second. Mya being the setter and the captain of the team has fed the correct hitters at the right time. Lexi and Tina come out hard on the outside. Chloe always puts up a consistent block and is a consistent player. Ashley and Maddie come in and are aggressive with reliable serves; they are good role players. Morgan has such a defensive drive and willingness to go after everything.”

RTR will be looking for another win Monday night when they host Renville County West at 7p.m. This will be the Knights opening match of the Section 3A Tournament.