With both teams needing a win to stay competitive in the Flyway Conference, Mayville was just the stronger bird Thursday night in Horace Mann’s gymnasium.
The Cardinals’ volleyball team didn’t have much trouble disposing of the Orioles in North Fond du Lac, sweeping them in relatively easy fashion by scores of 25-9, 25-17, 25-15.
It evened Mayville at 2-2 in league play, while NFDL dropped to 2-3.
The Cardinals’ strong serving was the biggest factor in the game, as the Orioles had trouble handling deep, line-drive serves all night and couldn’t recover. Mayville missed only nine serves in the match, with none in the third set.
“Our serving was a big tonight. We didn’t miss much,” Cardinals coach Sarah Persha said. “In past games, that’s been a difference where we’ve missed them.”
“We’ve been working really hard in practice for it,” added Mayville senior Hope Kubicek, who had a team-high eight kills. “I think we’ve really stepped up our spot-serving as a team.”
North Fond du Lac had a lead just once in the match — early in set 2 — and every time the Orioles seemed to get a little momentum, Mayville ended it quickly before it grew too big.
“We’ve struggled all year with communicating on the floor,” Orioles coach Jenny Stahl said. “We see spurts of great things from our kids, but it’s always a roller coaster. If we could put all aspects of the game together we could do a great job, but it never seems like we mesh all at the same time.”
Junior Madison Churchill had seven kills and two blocks for Mayville, while senior Deidra Weinberger had 15 digs and three aces and sophomore Mattie Klingenmeyer had 19 assists. Junior Morgan Bushke had a team-high 16 digs.
NFDL senior Deanna Luttenberger had 13 assists, senior Abbi Retzleff had 12 digs and senior Billi Retzleff had four kills.
The Cardinals got all over the Orioles fast in the first set, using three 5-0 runs to take an 18-5 lead as NFDL struggled getting good returns on serves near its back line. Then, Churchill was responsible for four points in another 5-0 run that made it 23-6, and the teams traded points till Mayville clinched it.
“We noticed that they had the same defense as we did, so we knew where their holes were,” Persha said. “We knew where to put the ball because it’s the same spots we struggle with.”
The Orioles had a considerably stronger effort in set 2, but not enough to match the Cardinals. They trailed only NFDL trailed only 12-9 before a 5-0 Mayville run gave it control, and the Orioles came no closer than 21-16 after that. The Cardinals closed the set on a 4-1 run.
“Our setters really did a lot,” Kubicek said. “They got us the ball and it was always a good set.”
Twelve of NFDL’s 26 points in the first two sets came on missed serves or violations by Mayville.
The third set was a no-doubter, with the Cardinals scoring the first eight points before NFDL closed to within 10-6. But the Orioles never got the run they needed to threaten, and Mayville kept them at bay with a 3-0 run and then traded points the rest of the way before closing the match on another 4-1 run.
“Our front row hitters kept the ball in when they needed to and pounded it down when they were able to,” Persha said. “We had hardly any hitting errors.”
Mayville def. NFDL 25-9, 25-17, 25-15
Stat leaders — NFDL: Billi Retzleff 4 kills; Deanna Luttenberger 13 assists; Abbi Retzleff 12 digs; Allie Redeker 8 digs. Mayville: Hope Kubicek 8 kills; Madison Churchill 7 kills, 2 blocks; Cassie Strook 6 kills; Deidra Weinberger 15 digs, 3 aces; Morgan Bushke 16 digs.