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Warriors bounce back, sweep Vikings

By Matt Oliver

MANKATO, Minn. – After falling short in a pair of hard-fought matches last week, the Waldorf College volleyball team got back on the winning track on Tuesday with a three-set sweep over Bethany Lutheran College.

The Warriors (6-21) brought down NCAA Division III’s Vikings (4-17) by scores of 25-18, 25-21, 25-14.

“It was a much-needed win,” Waldorf coach Paul Meyer said. “After playing so well and coming so close last week, it was a big confidence builder.”

Abby Buehler powered the Warriors with 12 kills. The 6-foot-2 junior middle hitter from Dodge Center, Minn. also provided a solo block and a pair of block assists.

Junior Megan Perkins helped lead Waldorf’s attack with eight kills. Sophomore Isabelle Rothbauer and freshman Kayla Budgins added five kills apiece while junior Brianna Haugen finished with two kills.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Monck handed out 16 assists and tallied a match-high three service aces for the Warriors. Junior Valerie Rivera turned in 14 assists and a team-high 12 digs.

The Warriors notched nine aces on the night, receiving two aces each from Rivera and Budgins. Sophomores Erica Fee and Briley Sullivan also had aces.

Sullivan recorded 10 digs, freshman Danica Cheney collected four digs and Haugen came away with three digs.

Waldorf posted five total blocks in the win with two block assists apiece from Budgins, Haugen and Rothbauer.

The Warriors, who recorded a .168 team hitting percentage with 34 total kills, brought intensity to the court to fire up their offense behind their middle hitters.

“I thought we came out and set the tone early getting our middles established and opening up the offense from there,” Meyer said.

Looking to shore up its serve receive throughout the contest, Waldorf maintained strong defensive play while holding Bethany Lutheran to a .096 hitting effort and 28 kills.

“We did struggle some with our serve receive throughout the match, but I was very happy how we battled through it and did not let it affect our defense,” Meyer said.

The Vikings owned an early edge in the second set before the Warriors made the necessary adjustments to claim the win.

“We did have to come back after a slow start in the second set, but again I was happy that we stayed up and didn’t get flustered,” Meyer said.

Waldorf faces another NCAA Division III opponent on Friday, taking on Carleton College (11-7) at 7 p.m. at Northfield, Minn.

Sealing the win over Bethany Lutheran in three sets provides a lift for the Warriors, who play three matches this week and host William Penn University (5-17) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

“In the third set, we came out aggressive, got a lead and finished off not only the win, but a sweep,” Meyer said. “It’s a good start to the week with a big match on Friday.”