RED WING — An early-season snow storm forced Red Wing to postpone its Tuesday volleyball game with Winona for a couple of days. The wait was worth it for the Wingers however, as they recorded their second three-set sweep of a Big 9 opponent this fall.
Backed by a stout defense that was able to consistently contest shots at the net, dig up balls that made it over and control them after first impact, the Wingers were able to defeat Winona for the first time since 2017.
"They dug up a lot of balls. They had good ball control, I was impressed," Red Wing head volleyball coach Nikki Roschen said. "We had different kids jumping in and playing in different roles. Just a great team effort."
The win did not come easy for the Wingers however. Red Wing won the first set 25-22 but were never more than five points ahead of the Winhawks as both teams battled back-and-forth.
In the second set, Red Wing played behind nearly the entire time — none more concerning than a 19-15 deficit. A timeout by the Wingers let them regroup though, and they tied the score up at 22-22. Winona refused to give in, even with the frantic comeback by Red Wing and went point-for-point with them until the Wingers finally broke free for the 26-24 second-set victory.
The third set was almost the same story except the teams switched roles. Red Wing built a big early lead that Winona was able to eventually whittle down to a 16-16 tie. With the Wingers on their heels a bit, a rally was needed to close the match out and that's exactly what occurred. Red Wing went on to score nine of the next 11 points to get the 25-18 third-set victory and match win.
Looking ahead, Roschen has a few things for the Wingers to work on as they get further into the meat of their conference schedule.
"We had been working on serving more. I thought our serve/receive has been consistent," she said. "Now we are adding things — we’ve been talking about blocking more and fine-tuning that. And we had some key blocks tonight for sure."
Statistical leaders for Red Wing include Kennedy Knopp and Abi Deming leading the offense with 10 kills each. Hallie Roschen led the team with 27 assists. On defense Bailie Roschen had a team-high 15 digs followed by Elle Brandt with 13, Knopp with 11 and Hallie Roschen with 10.
Beyond the regular key players, Nikki Roschen highlighted the performances of a few other players as well
"Mara Kelly had a kill and played well on the opposite side. Reese Nystuen made 4/4 serves, forcing Winona's offense out of system with her tough floater serve," she wrote in an email. "Kayla Shelstad did a nice job passing and was a perfect 10/10 serving with one ace. Ella Nelson blocked well and ran some nice offensive plays, finishing with two kills and 1.5 blocks."
Red Wing, 2-2, travels to Rochester Mayo for their next game on Saturday