New Ulm, dominated by St. Peter through two sets, roared back to win three straight and stun the hometown Saints in Tuesday night girls volleyball action.
It was also a big conference loss, as both teams came into the match unbeaten in Big South Conference competition. The loss dropped St. Peter’s conference mark to 3-1, 3-4 overall. New Ulm improved to 3-0 in league play, 3-2 overall.
The Saints cruised through set one 25-9, thanks in large part to 13 consecutive service points by sophomore Grace Remmert to close it out. Remmert finished with 25 service points in the five-game match.
It was a closer set two, but the Saints methodically moved out to leads of 7-2 and on to a 15-8 edge before an Eagles timeout. New Ulm closed that gap to within two at 16-14. But from there, Saints senior Sarah Conlon took over with her front-line teammates. Conlon’s sixth kill of the early evening was followed by winners from Maggi Pierret, Lizzy Quist and Brielle Bushaw and forced another New Ulm timeout at 20-15.
The Eagles kept the gap at 5 up to 22-17, but eventually a Remmert service point, a Bushaw block, and a New Ulm defensive error gave set two to the Saints at 25-18.
Momentum seemed to shift New Ulm’s way after a Cancer Night fundraiser delayed action between sets two and three. Service woes by the Saints kept St. Peter from going on any large rallies in set three. Down 15-10, a St. Peter timeout seemed to ignite the Saints. After a Quist kill and two Remmert service points, the Saints tied it up at 16-16.
But the Saints would never lead. New Ulm, leading by two at 20-18, closed out set three with five straight points to force a fourth.
It was much of the same throughout set four between the Saints and the Eagles. St. Peter held early leads of 5-3 and 8-6, but service miscues kept the Saints from any extended rallies. And after a Conlon block closed the New Ulm lead to 11-10, the Eagles never looked back en route to a 25-22 set four win.
In the set five decider to 15, it was back and forth much of the way. New Ulm took an early 3-1 lead, the biggest of the finale. But St. Peter eventually moved into the lead at 9-8 and the Saints held their largest lead at 12-10. When the Eagles tied things up two points later, a St. Peter timeout followed. And after another Bushaw kill, it would be the Saints last lead. New Ulm closed it on a kill, a 15-13 set five win, and match victory.
Conlon finished with 20 kills and setter Paige Hewitt had 40 set assists. Bushaw added 12 kills, while Pierret had seven and Quist six.
The Saints on Saturday host an invitational volleyball tourney. Joining St. Peter will be Atwater-Grove City-Cosmos, Blue Earth Area, Cleveland, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, NRHEG and Windom area. Action starts at 9 a.m. On Tuesday, it’s another key conference tilt with visiting Waseca.