PREP VOLLEYBALL: Seniors guide RTR over KMS in five

Photo by Brennen Rupp RTR’s Lexi Wendland connects on a kill during their match against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg on Tuesday. The Knights defeated the Saints 3-2.

TYLER – The Russell-Tyler-Ruthton volleyball team has eight seniors on the roster. That senior leadership was invaluable Tuesday evening during RTR’s 3-2 victory over Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.

In the pivotal fifth set a pair of seniors, Chloe Hess and Lexi Wendland, combined for 10 kills. With the seniors leading the way the Knights closed out the fifth set on a 8-2 run to pick up the 15-10 victory.

“The seniors did wonderful tonight,” RTR coach Daynica Brown said. “The senior leadership truly shined tonight. It came down to the wire and they stepped up and did their role. They knew that they could get the job done.”

Wendland finished the final set with seven kills. Hess recorded three kills. Hess said the team did a better job of communicating and playing with energy in the final set.

“I really think we were communicating better then in the previous sets,” Hess said. “When we talk we become more of a team.”

That energy the Knights played with in the final set was not present when the match started. KMS jumped out to a 7-1 lead and ended up winning the opening set, 25-16.

“We really came out flat in the first set,” Hess said. “We didn’t have much energy before the game.”

Brown contributed her team’s slow start to a long weekend that saw the Knights play five matches in two days at the Subway Classic in Marshall.

“I think in general it had to due to the long weekend,” Brown said. “We played Minneota on Thursday night. Then we had the Subway Classic. I think we came out a little flat.”

The Knights picked up the pace in the second set, as they won a back and forth affair, 25-23. The biggest lead for either team in the set was four.

Tina Haroldson, another senior, recorded a team-leading six kills in the second set. Chloe Hess finished with two kills and one block. Rylie Hess also recorded two kills.

The third set appeared to have the makings of another back and forth affair. The Knights held a slim 13-12 and finished the set on a 12-5 run to win the set, 25-17.

Haroldson led the Knights with six kills. Wendland finished with five kills. Chloe Hess chipped in with three kills.

The Saints bounced back to take the fourth set, 25-20 to force a fifth set. Chloe Hess finished the set with three kills, one block and one ace. Wendland and Haroldson both recorded two kills.

The Knights went on to win the fifth set, 15-10 to win the match 3-2. Brown said despite the many ups and downs in the match the team remained confident in themselves.

“The biggest thing is they remained confident that they could win it,” Brown said. “Even when things are not going the way they are used to, or when they are making mistakes that are abnormal for them. They just kept pushing through. They kept fighting through and remained positive and ended up pulling it off.”

With the win the Knights improved to 12-11. They are now 10-4 since a 2-7 start to the season. They’ll look to keep rolling on Monday when they take on Wabasso.