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Crusaders edge Warriors in sweep

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Waldorf Sports Information Director

FOREST CITY – Clarke University completed a three-set sweep over the Waldorf University volleyball team on Tuesday.

It was an unordinary match where the Warriors (10-13) were out of sync at times, but still managed to push the Crusaders (14-4) to the brink.

“We struggled with consistency all night, but battled in every set,” Waldorf coach Paul Meyer said.

Clarke, which has won six of its last eight contests, is a team the Warriors were prepared to fight every step of the way. They turned in a valiant effort despite being without starting middle hitter Kayla Budgins, who was sidelined by a knee injury.

“Clarke came in with a very good record,” Meyer said. “We knew we matched up well with them and we knew we had to make some adjustments with Kayla being out, which I thought we did pretty well.”

Senior Brianna Haugen led Waldorf with eight kills. Junior Rebecca Bartnicki added seven kills and two solo blocks. Senior Megan Perkins connected for six kills and junior Isabelle Rothbauer provided four kills.

Valerie Rivera handed out 15 assists. In two seasons, the senior setter from Victorville, Calif. has amassed 1,057 assists and currently ranks fourth-all time in Waldorf’s school record books. Freshman Elisabeth Tramm turned in 13 assists.

The Warriors tallied four service aces, receiving aces from juniors Briley Sullivan, April Jones, freshmanKelsey Sederquest and Tramm.

Sullivan racked up 15 digs, moving to third on Waldorf’s all-time career leaders list with 1,723 digs in three seasons. Sederquest recorded 14 digs, junior Erica Fee collected 10 digs while Perkins and Tramm came away with five digs each. The Warriors racked up 68 digs, which ties for the ninth most among school records in a three-set match.

Junior Kaitlyn Monck, Haugen, Perkins, Rothbauer and Jones contributed one solo block apiece as Waldorf finished with seven total blocks on the night.

The Warriors recorded a .094 hitting percentage and the Crusaders closed out the match with a .117 hitting clip.

Finding its rhythm, Waldorf settled in to overcome early deficits during each set.

“Every part of our game was good at times, but we started very slow in all of the sets so we had to dig out of holes all night long,” Meyer said. “Offensively, we were very up and down from set to set.”

Despite falling in the opening set, the Warriors generated a .258 hitting percentage while Clarke sported .206 attack percentage.

The second set was just as tightly contested with both teams searching for offense. Waldorf was limited to a -.036 hitting percentage and the Crusaders registered a .000 hitting effort.

Clarke elevated its hitting percentage to .205 in the match-clinching set and the Warriors ended with a .143 attack percentage.

During an up-and-down night, Waldorf constantly found ways to keep itself in the match and never backed down.

“I was impressed with how we battled even after being down early in the sets,” Meyer said. “We put ourselves in position to win every set, but Clarke came up with some key plays down the stretch to pull out wins.”

The Warriors, who are 0-3 in the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) standings, return to conference play this Friday as they host Valley City State University (6-10, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Waldorf hosts a triangular on Saturday, facing Mayville State University (8-9, 2-1) in a 12 p.m. conference clash and Grace University (6-9) in a 3 p.m. nonconference matchup.

“We need two good days of practice to get on a roll headed into this weekend’s conference matches,” Meyer said.