Volleyball: Willmar wins CLC tilt with Alexandria
Three Willmar Cardinals got their first taste of varsity action on the home hardwood and if Tuesday was any indication, the Red Sea will have plenty to cheer about for the next few years.
Outside hitter Sydney Schnichels, an eighth grader, slammed nine kills in her first game wearing the home colors and setter Lydia Larson, a freshman, finished with 13 set assists to complement teammate Carly Wedel's 27 set assists in a four-game win over Alexandria.
Willmar won 25-15, 25-13, 25-27 and 25-21.
"Sydney has been steady blocking all year but this was her best hitting match," said Willmar head coach Traci Grussing, who also saw Abby Teisinger earn her first home varsity minutes. "Lydia seemed a bit nervous at the start but especially towards the end she really started setting the ball nicely. She played well."
Willmar came out strong against the visiting Cardinals, opening up the match with a powerful 25-15 start, a mark they improved on in set two with a 25-13 victory. Caitlin Ogdahl played a large role early and often, wrapping up with a team-best 13 kills. Wedel added 10 kills to the cause as well, working as a setter and occasional hitter with the introduction of Larson.
Ogdahl also led the team with four service aces but it was a strength for the entire Willmar team all night. Willmar finished with 12 aces, including three by Abby Stark. Stark, a sophomore libero, didn't find a ball she couldn't reach. She ended with 24 digs.
For Alexandria, Mia McGrane and Devany Johnson led the way defensively with 17 and 15 digs, respectively. McGrane also had two blocks, while Mya Lesnar and Kendra Hardy each had a block of their own. Offensively, Hardy and McKenzie Duwenhoegger split the team lead with 10 kills each. Lesnar and Micaela Nelson each picked up a pair of aces, while Ally Albers and Erika Roderick tallied one apiece.
Tuesday marked the first loss of the season for Alexandria outside of tournament play in Eden Prairie on Sept. 1 where the Cardinals went 1-3 with a win over Mankato East and losses to Eden Prairie, Bloomington Jefferson and Chanhassen.
WILLMAR 3, ALEXANDRIA 1
25-15, 25-13, 25-27, 25-21
ALEXANDRIA -- Mya Lesnar - 2 aces, 2 kills, 1 block; McKenzie Duwenhoegger - 10 kills; Ally Albers - 1 ace; Erika Roderick - 1 ace; Devany Johnson - 1 kill; Kendra Hardy - 10 kills, 1 block; Ella Grove - 2 kills, 1 block; Mia McGrane - 6 kills, 2 blocks; Sierra Cory - 1 kill; Michaela Nelson - 2 aces, 1 kill.