Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Thursday did not look like a volleyball team searching for its first win.
Host Kenyon-Wanamingo (4-1, 2-1 Hiawatha Valley League) made sure Z-M (0-6, 0-3 HVL) didn’t find it.
The Z-M Cougars hung tight early on in a pair of K-W Knight 25-18 set wins. The Cougars took it one step further in the third as they had set point up 25-24 before K-W reeled off three straight points to escape.
Kenyon-Wanamingo staves off an impressive effort by a winless Zumbrota-Mazeppa team 25-18, 25-18, 27-25 on this match point pic.twitter.com/jahN1CQa2p— Mike Randleman (@FDNmike) September 13, 2019
Z-M lost almost all of its production from a 21-7 team that pushed K-W to five sets last year. It’s beginning to find its way after taking Byron (7-3, 1-1 HVL) to five sets and winning one set against Class AA No. 2 Stewartville (9-1, 3-0 HVL).
The Cougars were able to find some success against a K-W team lacking energy.
The Class A No. 2 Knights were coming off a three-set loss Tuesday at AA No. 5 Kasson-Mantorville.
“During the first set we were up 20-17. I took a timeout and I’m like I know we’re up 20-17 and they’re like ‘Yeah,’ K-W head coach Jen Nerison said flatly. “I don’t care really what the score is, but they didn’t really look like they were having fun. I don’t know if the pressure or stuff is getting to them. They started out the year (winning) at WEM with so much emotion and now I’m like ‘Where is that?’ But they showed up when they needed to tonight against a good, competitive team like Z-M.”
Poor serve receive was the main component in the K-M loss. Nerison noted some slight improvements on Thursday, but it remains a work in progress.
Z-M had height at the net and did not give K-W many free points.
Julianna Boyum led K-W with 13 kills followed by 10 for Ally Peterson. Riley Dummer led with 13 digs, Boyum had five blocks, Madi Luebke 18 assists and Kaia Johnson with two aces in a team effort.
Z-M was led by seven kills by Jakalyn Arendt and Tenlee Magnuson. Sarah Mensink had 18 digs, Rylee Nelson 17 assists, Arndt and Natalie Dykes had two blocks and Nelson had three aces.
Despite Thursday not being K-W’s best effort, Nerison’s team is a veteran group that came to Wednesday’s practice eager to improve.
K-W steps out of HVL play to take on its new Section 1A mate, Bethlehem Academy (3-6), 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. The Cardinals’ six losses are all to teams in Class AA or AAA.
Kenyon-Wanamingo 3, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 0
Z — 18 18 25
K — 25 25 27
K-W statistics — Kills: Julianna Boyum 13; Ally Peterson 10; Megan Mattson 5; Leah Berg, Hailey Lerfald 2; Riley Dummer, Ellie Benson 1; Madi Luebke 1 … Assists: Luebke 18; Dummer 12 … Aces: Kaia Johnson 2; Peterson, Dummer 1 … Blocks: Boyum 5; Peterson 3; Benson, Lerfald, Berg, Mattson 2 … Digs: Dummer 13; Johnson, Mattson, Peterson 7; Boyum 6; Luebke 3; Berg, Lerfald 2; Benson 1