After getting back on track with a 3-0 sweep against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (13-10-1 overall, 5-4 Gopher Conference) faced a setback Monday, losing to the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights 3-1.
The big issue that the Panthers faced was trying to overcome a tough start on the night, taking back-to-back set losses in the beginning of the match. Momentum swayed heavily in the favor of the Knights after the first set after pulling out a 25-12 win over NRHEG.
This momentum carried over into the second set, despite the Panthers making it slightly closer, and Kenyon-Wanamingo went up 2-0 in the match behind a 25-16 win.
Facing a potential sweep, NRHEG fought back in the third set. In the closest set of the night and tied 24-24, the Panthers managed to pull away with two back-to-back points to take the third set 26-24.
Despite staying alive and winning the close set, Kenyon-Wanamingo came out in the fourth set prepared to win the match. The Knights ran away with a 25-13 victory and took a 3-1 match win over the Panthers.
NRHEG was led by Erin Jacobson with seven kills, six digs, one assist and two ace blocks. Bree Ihrke recorded five kills, one dig, one assist and three ace blocks, as well as six kills and 10 digs from Bailey Ihrke.
Hallie Schultz posted a team-high18 assist, along with three digs defensively. Sidney Schultz led the team in digs with 18 total.
“We were slow starting tonight. Kenyon is a solid team and they came out strong. I thought overall our passing was pretty good and our blocking got better each set,” said NRHEG head coach Onika Peterson.
The Panthers will close out their season hosting Medford Thursday, then travel to Maple River in their regular season finale.