Volleyball: K-W blasts K-M in Top 10 affair
A couple weeks ago, Kenyon-Wanamingo head coach Jen Nerison commented on her team's inability to get off to slow starts. Nerison said it was a problem, but that, just two matches into the season, it was an issue she hoped to correct.
On Saturday, the Knights saw their 13-match winning streak come to an end in Wabasha against Caledonia. A slow start was not the problem. In the three-set final of the Wabasha-Kellogg Tournament, K-W's 9-1 lead in the final game evaporated.
Monday's win against Blooming Prairie was expected, but the loss to Caledonia dropped K-W from first to third in the Class 2A poll, and Tuesday's matchup against No. 9 Kasson-Mantorville was perhaps the stiffest challenge not just of the season to date, but to see how the Knights would respond to losing their only two sets of the season three days earlier.
In less than an hour, K-W emphatically answered both questions in a 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-8) evisceration of the KoMets.
“I'm speechless,” Nerison said. “I'm very proud of these girls. The senior leadership is so calm, they just take the team along for the ride.”
After being recognized for her 1,00th career kill that came over the weekend, Mara Quam had 14 kills against K-M, while fellow senior Megan Flom added seven. Junior Corynne Dahl had seven kills as well. Flom and Dahl also each had two blocks against a KoMet offense that struggled getting into a rhythm from the get-go.
“We always focus on defense, that's our goal,” said senior libero Kasey Dummer, who had 19 digs and two ace serves. “We have to try to cover everything, to get to every ball. That's our focus all season.”
After turning a 7-7 tie into an 18-7 run to close the first set, the Knights were prepared for the KoMets to come out hot in the second. K-M did. It just didn't matter.
“After the first set, we knew that they'd come back,” Quam said. “In the third, we did not allow that.”
K-M jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the second, then scored just seven more points as K-W rode strong serving from Mia Peterson and Flom to another lopsided win.
The third set was simply the Knights playing a level above its competition. K-W led 8-2 and 19-4, and three of K-M's final four points came on hitting errors. The Top Ten matchup felt like a first-round sub-section mismatch.
“We talked about when we do the basic things well, that the front just goes off,” Nerison said. “But this whole team, Corynne, Kasey, Mia (18 assists), it just clicked. The setters read the defense so well. Just, everything just clicked.”
K-W (15-1) will visit Byron (10-4) on Thursday. The Bears are 2-3 in their last five matches.