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Waldorf splits with Rams, Cougars

By Matt Oliver

MORRIS, Minn. – The Waldorf College volleyball team closed out its weekend road trip, splitting a pair of matches in the University of Minnesota-Morris Triangular on Saturday.

“It was not the result we had hoped for in the final match, but overall it was a very good weekend,” Waldorf coach Paul Meyer said.

The Warriors (9-24) notched their second straight win, rolling past North Central University (10-16) by scores of 25-19, 25-10, 25-18 in the opener.

“We came out and controlled the match and took care of business,” Meyer said. “We were a little out of sync at times, but stayed consistent and pulled away.”

Junior Abby Buehler led Waldorf with 18 kills, a solo block and five block assists. Freshman Kayla Budgins helped power the attack with seven kills, sophomores Isabelle Rothbauer and Kaitlyn Monck provided four kills apiece while junior Brianna Haugen added three kills.

Junior Valerie Rivera paced the Warriors with 20 assists and a match-high five service aces. Monck turned in 15 assists, a team-high 10 digs and two aces.

Waldorf tallied five aces, receiving one ace each from sophomore Erica Fee and Budgins.

Sophomore Briley Sullivan recorded nine digs for the Warriors, freshman Danica Cheney and Rivera collected seven digs apiece, junior Megan Perkins contributed five digs and Fee finished with four digs.

Waldorf, which connected for 39 kills behind a .307 team hitting percentage, posted seven total blocks. Monck, Perkins and Haugen battled for two block assists each. Budgins also had a block assist while helping limit the Rams to 25 kills and a .075 hitting effort.

NCAA Division III’s Minnesota-Morris (19-10) topped the Warriors 25-18, 25-18, 25-22 in the final match of the day.

“Against a very solid Minnesota-Morris squad, we never really got our game going like we did on Friday night,” Meyer said. “We didn’t play bad, but they kept us back on our heels most of the evening.”

Buehler connected for 10 kills to lead Waldorf’s attack. Budgins added eight kills, along with a solo block and three block assists. Rothbauer tallied five kills while Monck and Perkins finished with four kills apiece.

Monck handed out 16 assists and Rivera closed out the match with 12 assists.

Sullivan and Fee were strong on the defensive end with 13 and 10 digs, respectively. Cheney added nine digs, Monck recorded eight digs and Rivera came away with six digs.

Waldorf finished with seven blocks, receiving a solo block and two block assists from Buehler. Senior Genie Payne, Monck, Perkins, Haugen and Rothbauer also contributed block assists.

The Cougars, who had three blocks on the night, registered 50 kills and a .258 hitting percentage while holding the Warriors to 34 kills and a .148 hitting performance. In a third-set battle, Minnesota-Morris fended off Waldorf to seal the sweep.

“I thought we did an excellent job fighting through some errors and put ourselves in position to win the third set, but Minnesota-Morris picked up some plays,” Meyer said.

After winning two of four matches this week, the Warriors now set their sights on returning to North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) play against Viterbo University (31-4, 6-0) in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. matchup at La Crosse, Wis. The V-Hawks are ranked No. 7 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll and are the first of Waldorf’s final four matches next week.

“It was a very good week,” Meyer said. “We are playing good volleyball and are very excited heading into a tough last week of the regular season.”