St. John’s senior Lauren Utrup keeps the volley going during MAC volleyball action Thursday at Arnzen Gymnasium as New Bremen’s Karli Jones and Haley Moeller await the action. The visiting Cardinals swept the Jays.
DELPHOS — The St. John’s volleyball unit has struggled to finish sets and matches this fall.
That continued Thursday night at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium as the visiting New Bremen Lady Cardinals swept the Lady Blue Jays 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 in Midwest Athletic Conference activity.
“That’s it. We got up 4-1 in the first set and couldn’t hang on,” St. John’s coach Kellie Sterling noted. “When you get a team down, especially a good one like New Bremen, you can’t let them back up; we didn’t keep them down.”
The Jays (5-11, 0-6 MAC) had their chances in the first set, getting off to that quick start but not maintaining the start. The Lady Cardinals and setter Karli Jones used the hitting prowess of such as Julie Brown, Stephanie Brandt and Hannah Holdren at the net to rally the troops. As well, libero Tarynn Clune led the digging effort for the visitors. In the end, a hitting error on set point put the Cardinals up 1-0.
The second set saw St. John’s senior Heather Vogt (8 blocks) stuff the first Cardinal spike but a tip by Brown gave the serve to Amber Paul. Three aces later — as well as a kill by Brandt and a hitting miscue — put the visitors up 7-1 and forcing Sterling to call timeout. It didn’t help as the Cardinals built up a 14-4 edge on another ace, this time by Jones. The visitors then built up a 20-9 edge on a hitting error before the Jays launched a rally, getting back within 23-18 on a hitting error and forcing Bremen coach Theresa Jenkins to call time. A hit off the block by Haley Moeller and a hitting error put the match firmly in the Cardinals’ hands at a 2-set advantage.
The Jays got off much better in the third set, building an 8-4 edge on a hitting error, and later 9-5, 10-6 and 11-7 advantages. A aerving error jump-started a 6-0 spurt by the visitors, capped by a Paul ace, to lead 13-11 and forcing Sterling to call a halt. The Jays fought back within 14-all but two kills by Moeller started the Cardinals on to a finishing run. Slowly, they pulled away and finished the sweep on a hit off the block by Brandt.
“It’s a matter of confidence and mental focus right now. We beat Lincolnview Tuesday and we gained confidence; we lost that after tonight,” Sterling added. “I know we have the talent to do well; I think the girls have to believe it. It has to go from knowing we have the talent to the belief that when we take the court, we are confident we can win the match.”
Senior Katrina Etzkorn led the hosts with 18 digs and three aces, along with senior Emily Horstman (5 kills), senior Christie Carder (16 assists) and junior Alicia Buettner (7 blocks, 4 kills).
New Bremen won the junior varsity match 21-25, 25-14, 25-21.
St. John’s visits Ottoville 10 a.m. (JV start) Saturday.