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Volleyball: Wingers rocked by top-ranked Chaska

Red Wing libero Maria Furlong goes down for a dig during Thursday's Missota Conference match against Chaska. The Wingers lost in three sets to the top-ranked Hawks. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 2
Red Wing setter McKenzie Cota lines up a pass during Thursday's match against Chaska at Red Wing High School. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 2

Thursday’s match with top-ranked Chaska left the Red Wing volleyball team in shock and awe.

On one hand, the winless Wingers could not match Class 3A’s No. 1 team in terms of firepower, falling in straight sets 25-7, 25-9, 25-10. On the other hand, Red Wing head coach Heidi Ulwelling hopes the game serves as a motivator the rest of this season and beyond.

“They just got to see the best volleyball in the state,” Ulwelling said. “That should motivate you get to that level. … Their ball control was unbelievable. They’re No. 1 for a reason.”

Chaska took little time to jump ahead, scoring the first nine points of the first set thanks six combined kills from Sarah Kelly and Lauren Nordvold. The Hawks led by as much as 16 as they cruised to a first-set victory.

“Our first serve, I saw it and thought, ‘Well, free ball, here we go,’” Ulwelling said, “and pass, pass, hit, you could see their eyes went, ‘Uh oh.’”

The Wingers went up 1-0 in both the second and third sets, but that was the only time Red Wing could muster a lead as Chaska (12-0, 3-0 Missota) dominated the remainder of the match.

The trouble came from the Hawks’ immaculate passing, especially from junior setter Makayla Wenzel.

“When you face a setter that is that good, our middles were lost,” Ulwelling said. “You can’t set up a defensive scheme. … Their setter was phenomenal with the ball.”

Chaska led by as much as 16 in the second set after an ace serve by Erin Schindler made it 22-6 as the Hawks once again held the Wingers to single digits.

Red Wing showed some fight early in the third set, trailing by just three after a kill by Sydney Book made it 7-4. But several errors passing the ball, as well as strong swings by the Hawks’ Molly Frank and Lucia Saathoff put the final set firmly out of reach at 15-6. Book tallied two more kills in the set, finishing with a team-high eight in the loss.

Libero Maria Furlong had nine digs, and Taylor Steger and McKenzie Cota each had two block assists in the Wingers’ loss.

“You could tell they all were a bit overwhelmed,” Ulwelling said. “We tried to prepare them the best we could all week, moving our blocking to accommodate all the quick shoots they do. All you can expect from your girls is to keep playing. We had our moments, but against a team like that, you have to play stronger.

“After that, you just breathe and get ready for the next match. They’re No. 1 for a reason and it showed.”

Red Wing (0-11, 0-3 Missota) hits the road next Thursday for a conference matchup with Holy Angels.

RE Sports

The Red Wing Republican Eagle covers local sports in Goodhue County and surrounding areas. 

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