SECTION 3A VOLLEYBALL: Knights roll over Renville County West in three sets in the Section 3A opener

Photo by Brennen Rupp RTR’s Hailey Muenchow follows through on a kill during their Section 3A Tournament match against Renville County West on Monday. The Knights defeated the Jaguars 3-0 to advance to the next round of the tournament.

TYLER – Monday night was the start of the Section 3A Tournament. It also marked an ending for eight seniors on the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights volleyball team. For the final time, the group of veteran leaders for the Knights took the court in front of their home crowd. The Knights made sure that their final home game of their careers was a good one. The Knights took care of the visiting Renville County West Jaguars in straight sets.

“The girls came out with confidence,” RTR coach Daynica Brown said. “They were determined tonight. They want it. They don’t want to stop. They don’t want to make it just to subsections. They want to go far. They know that they have to pick up their game if that’s going to happen.”

The first set started off as a back-and-forth affair with neither team being able to create much separation. The Knights held an 8-7 lead and went on to close out the opening set on a 17-5 run to win 25-12.

Lexi Wendland led the Knights with six kills. Hailey Muenchow finished the set with three kills. Madison Witte chipped in with two kills.

In the second set the Knights cruised to a 25-16 victory to take a 2-0 match lead. Tina Haroldson led the Knights with four kills. Chloe Hess and Muenchow both finished with three kills. Madison Muenchow recorded one ace.

It was all RTR in the third set. The Knights jumped out to a 9-1 lead and never looked back en route to a 25-10 victory.

“They just wanted it,” Brown said. “They are hungry and truly determined. They want to play hard. They want to play their best. They are very selfless. We played a lot of our bench tonight and everybody played well.”

Hailey Muenchow finished the third set with four kills. Brown said that Muenchow has become an integral part of RTR’s attack.

“It always helps when you have height,” Brown said. “We slowly integrated her. She’s now one of our main players, which is huge. She helps change up the pattern of the passes.”

Wendland also recorded four kills for the Knights in the final set. Chloe Hess finished with two kills and one block. Rylie Hess and Makenzie Buchert both chipped in with two kills.

With the win the Knights will hit the road to take on MACCRAY in the second round of the section tournament. The Knights lost to MACCRAY earlier this season, 3-1. The two teams played during the Subway Classic in Marshall with the Wolverines once again getting the better of the Knights, 2-0.

Brown said if her team is to upset the Wolverines on Friday they’ll have to play aggressive.

“We have to play aggressive,” Brown said. “They have a good outside hitter and a very talented setter. They play a very aggressive game. We need to be aggressive and hopefully we’ll get them this time.”