Volleyball: K-W blows by Z-M
MAZEPPA – It's home gymnasium having been flooded, Zumbrota-Mazeppa welcomed Kenyon-Wanamingo to Z-M Elementary School on Thursday, and the result was about as expected. The Knights, the top-ranked team in Class 2A, doused the Cougars with a potent offense and a near impenetrable defense for a 3-0 (25-8, 25-13, 25-13) victory.
“I think the girls were really excited to play. We haven't played since August 27, so we've had a lot of practice,” said K-W head coach Jen Nerison. “I was very impressed with our passing. Our back row on serve receive since August 27 has really improved. I'm not worried about our front line, they're going to take care of business when you give them a good pass. We just need to keep working on passing.”
The first set did not open the floodgates for the Knights. Z-M tied the set 2-2, and then fought back to make it 11-8. But then K-W broke through the dam, scoring 14-straight points to take the match lead.
“Sometimes these girls a slow to start. When we were in Hopkins, we were down 13-5 before we kicked it into gear,” Nerison said. “I hope it's not a trend.”
The Knights controlled the second set from the beginning, featuring an 11-3 start that Z-M simply could not come back from.
“We didn't look like the team I've at practice. But we did some good things, we just need to put the ball away when we have the opportunity,” said Z-M head coach Lisa Nelson. “K-W is a good team. We had chances here and there, but if you give them a little, they take a lot.”
The third was the same, a 14-1 surge to start, and the match was all but over.
“We're young. It's growing pains,” Nelson said. “What we see at practice looks good, we just need to execute in game situations.”
Z-M's Lyndsey Quam had five kills and four digs, while Juliah Jackson had four kills. Taylor Blakstad had five digs for the Cougars, with teammate Tara Matuska putting up 10 assists.
K-W's potent trio of Megan Flom, Ally Peterson and Mara Quam registered 26 total kills, with Flom going 15-for-15 attacking. Peterson and Quam each had six kills, and Flom and Quam each had four ace serves. Kasey Dummer had 13 digs to lead the Knights, and K-W did not have a serve-reception error all match.
K-W has a light week ahead with a home invitational on Saturday, a home match against Goodhue on Tuesday, then a tournament at Wabasha-Kellogg on Saturday, Sept. 17. The Knights will then begin a stretch of seven matches in nine days.
For K-W to come out the other side of that as a more complete, No. 1 team, its coach said the team just needs to work on playing together.
“Communicating, talking. Our senior captains did a good job getting everyone else going, getting more excited,” Nerison said. “We need to keep improving on that every night.”