Volleyball: Henning remains undefeated with a sweep of B-E
The Henning Hornets defeated the Brandon-Evansville Chargers in a 3-0 sweep on Tuesday in a Section 6A battle. The Chargers kept themselves within striking distance but the Hornets finished each set strong.
EVANSVILLE - The Brandon-Evansville volleyball team had a tall task on Tuesday, facing the undefeated Henning Hornets in Evansville. B-E kept within striking distance for most of the night, but Henning put away the first three sets to win the match 3-0.
“They are good, and they don’t make mistakes,” B-E head coach Kelly Olson said about Henning. “They're tall, and they're well-coached. And they can hit the ball well. They’re as strong as they come.”
Henning (9-0, 5-0 Section 6A) has been dominant all year long as it has only lost one set, to Underwood in a 3-1 win in its season-opener or Aug. 30.
B-E (6-6, 4-5 Section 6A) got things started on the right foot in the match on Tuesday by scoring the first four points in the first set.
“Any time you can get a good start on a team and get a lead, you maybe play a little bit more confidently,” Olson said. “Then when they start pushing back at you, you've got to make sure that you withstand that storm and that you do things fundamentally. We did that for the most part, but not the whole night.”
Henning responded swiftly, winning set one 25-17.
In sets two and three, the Hornets jumped out to early five-point leads and held a lead margin in that range for most of those sets.
“We needed to be focused and not replay past mistakes,” Olson said. “For the most part, we did that, but at critical times, we had mental lapses, and in the end, that cost us the chance to play our best.”
The Chargers did push back a bit and trimmed their deficit to a couple of points in each of those sets, but the Hornets walked away with wins in set two (25-18) and set three (25-20) thanks to strong finishes.
“We felt if we played clean, we could compete and push them,” Olson said. “We had slow starts in the second and third set that came back to bite us, and then we struggled to finish. We came all the way back and got within striking distance, and then we just had some untimely serving errors and communication errors. It’s disappointing, but our kids played hard.”
Henning has been one of the most consistent teams in Section 6A over the last couple of seasons. The Hornets have a 107-34 record dating back to the start of the 2017 season and won the 2019 Section 6A championship.
Olson said that he expects Henning to be right up there again among the top teams in the section.
Henning is ranked fifth in the Class A QRF rankings on Minnesota-scores.net.
The Hornets are the top-rated Subsection 6A North and Section 6A team in the QRF, while the Chargers are the third-highest rated Subsection 6A South team, behind the Parkers Prairie Panthers (4-1, 3-1 Section 6A) and the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars (7-4, 1-0 Section 6A).
“We just need to focus in practice and focus on the court in playing in the moment and not letting mistakes dictate the next play,” Olson said regarding how the team aims to grow.
The Chargers are on the road for the next four out of five matches.
The Chargers visit Battle Lake (2-7, 1-6 Section 6A) on Thursday, New York Mills (7-3, 2-2 Section 6A) on Sept. 26, Underwood (6-3, 4-1 Section 6A) on Sept. 29 and Sebeka (1-3, 0-2 Section 5A) on Oct. 4. B-E has a home game sprinkled in that stretch on Sept. 27 against Rothsay (3-1, 3-1 Section 6A).
Moving forward, the Chargers are confident in their passing and setting.
“I think our passing game is really good and our setter (Sydney Schaefer) works really hard along with our hitters,” senior middle blocker EmmaLee Brethorst said. “We just have a good group of girls and we all seem to get along very well.”
Olson hinted the lineup might be tweaked a little bit in the next couple of matches.
“We've got a healthy competition for playing time,” he said. “I don't know if our starting lineup will be the same on Thursday. It could be different next week. Our lineup is a bit different; we've got some kids in different spots.”
Olson said that the team has a lot of parity.
“They really work hard in practice, and so I think the kids that are putting that time in and look the best the night before are going to be the ones that we're going to throw on the court to start,” he said.
Brethorst, along with senior Gretchen Bredberg and sophomore Haddy Baune, are who Olson pointed out as some of the key contributors in the front row for the Chargers.
“Our middles right now are all doing a good job blocking,” Olson said. “They've been working hard at it, and their lateral movements are getting better. Our pin blockers (Kylee Dingwall, Claire Boesl, Sydney Schaefer, Skylar Bitzan and Taylor Dingwall) are starting to turn the ball in. Grace Otto can come up and play in the front row if need her to.”
The Chargers are led defensively by senior libero Taylor Suchy, who is coming off a Saturday performance where she averaged 26 digs in two matches. The Chargers beat Benson and Pelican Rapids that day.
B-E’s match against Battle Lake on Thursday begins at 7:15 p.m. B-E beat Battle Lake twice in 2021 (3-2 on Sept. 7, 2021, and 3-0 on Sept. 28, 2021).
“They're all working hard and we're just going to keep on this track,” Olson said. “We challenged them a little bit to try and get better in practice and to keep doing that throughout the season. I’m proud of the effort of all the players. Now we need to start to match the execution with that effort.”
Henning - 25 25 25 - 3
Brandon-Evansville - 17 18 20 - 0
B-E STATS -
KILLS - Gretchen Bredberg, 6; Claire Boesl, 6; Grace Otto, 1; Skylar Bitzan, 2; EmmaLee Brethorst, 2; Kylee Dingwall, 10; Sydney Schaefer, 1
BLOCKS - Gretchen Bredberg, 1; Claire Boesl, 1; EmmaLee Brethorst, 1; Sydney Schaefer, 3
DIGS - Taylor Suchy, 12; Gretchen Bredberg, 1; Claire Boesl, 6; Courtney Brethorst, 1; Grace Otto, 6; Skylar Bitzan, 4;