Photo by Abbi Tanner
The Yellowjacket volleyball team split on Friday, Nov. 1 at the 2019 Warrior Invitational, hosted by Wisconsin Lutheran College. It was more of the same on Saturday, as the ‘Jackets fell to the hosts in the first match of the day Saturday, before coming back to win the second against Concordia-Chicago, ending the weekend 2-2.
Wisconsin Lutheran 3, Yellowjackets 2
In the opener, the Yellowjackets appeared to be in control, taking the first two sets by identical 25-22 scores, before Wisconsin Lutheran rallied to win the final three sets and take the match.
The first set saw close play, with neither team being able to open up a significant lead. A kill by Cami Sletta (Willmar, Minn./Willmar Senior) broke a 21-21 tie and the Yellowjackets would lead the rest of the way. A Cassy Teff (Foley, Minn./Foley) kill on set point gave the ‘Jackets the set and the early lead in the match.
As the second set unfolded, the Yellowjackets and Warriors were again close, before the Yellowjackets won four straight points to pull ahead 12-5. The lead would get as high as nine points before the Warriors rallied and pulled to within one at 20-19. A kill by Lexi Oeltjen (Lake Elmo, Minn./Stillwater Area) and a Warrior error put the ‘Jackets up three. A handful of points later, Hannah Goggleye (Calumet, Minn./Greenway) ended the set with a kill to put the ‘Jackets in the driver’s seat.
Wisconsin Lutheran flipped the script in the third set, rallying after the Yellowjackets opened up the lead. The Warriors would draw even late at 21-21 and win four of the last six points to take the third set, 25-23. In the fourth set the Warriors would jump out to an early lead, and pull away in the middle stages of the set, winning four straight points to go ahead 13-7. They would lead from beginning to end, taking the set 25-17 and evening the match.
The momentum carried over from the fourth set to the fifth for the Warriors, as they raced out to an early 8-3 lead, and they would cruise after the teams changed sides, winning the set 15-10 and the match 3-2.
Sletta led the Yellowjackets offensively, finishing with 14 kills and a .243 attack percentage. Goggleye contributed 13 kills and attacked at a .353 clip. Gina Baertsch (Farmington, Minn./Farmington Area) had 26 assists, while Megan Holz (Savage, Minn./Burnsville) put up 19. On defense Yana Carrera (North Mankato, Minn./Mankato West Senior) had 36 kills, one of three Yellowjackets to reach double digits.
The Yellowjackets were determined to close the regular season on a positive note and came out like a team possessed against Concordia-Chicago, taking the opening set by a convincing 25-13 score. Up 10-9, the Yellowjackets would go on a 9-0 run to break things open. Goggleye did the honors of closing the set, throwing down the kill on set point to give the ‘Jackets the early lead.
In the second set the teams played it close, with neither able string enough points together to build a big lead. The Yellowjackets led the set 23-22 but couldn’t hold on, as the Cougars took the final three points to even the match.
The third set was another close one, with the Cougars being the team to eventually move ahead by a handful of points at 14-9. The Yellowajckets clawed their way back, and an Elise Ertl (Phillips, Wis./Phillips) kill put them ahead 17-16. They would never surrender the lead, using a Sletta kill to close out the set 25-23.
For the second time on the day, the Yellowjackets were ahead 2-1 and this time they were determined to put the match away. They took the lead early and never gave it up. The ‘Jackets moved ahead by as many as four points, but the Cougars would find a way to climb back in. Ahead by one at 21-20, the Yellowjackets closed out the set and the match, winning four straight points, the final two coming on a pair of Cougar errors.
Sletta again led the way offensively, finishing with a team-best 19 kills. Baertsch and Holz again reached double digit assists, posting 32 and 19, respectively. Carrera led the Yellowjackets with 16 digs.
The Yellowjackets will return to action in the first round of the UMAC Tournament. They enter play as the No. 4 seed and will take on Bethany Lutheran, the No. 5 seed, Monday, Nov. 4. The playoff match will begin at 7:00 p.m.