As the No. 3 seed in the Section 2AA South Subsection volleyball playoffs, the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers were able to play on their home court against the No. 6 seeded St. Clair Cyclones.

The Panthers advanced to the subsection semifinals after holding off the visiting Cyclones and recording a 3-0 sweep behind two close sets to open up the game, followed by a strong third and final set.

In the first two sets of the night, NRHEG pulled out a 25-18 win to take the early lead, then followed it up with a 25-20 win in the closest set of the night.

“Great to get a win at playoff time,” NRHEG coach Onika Peterson said. “The girls competed for every single point. Our defense moved well and had some huge saves for us. They kept our quick tempo offense moving all night. Offensively we had a lot of kids getting some big swings which was great to see.”

With two set wins under their belt, the Panthers breezed past the Cyclones in the final set, winning 25-7 to seal the sweep and their advancement into the subsection semifinals Monday in Mankato against No. 7 Maple River, which upset second-seeded Waseca on Thursday in five sets.

NRHEG got great offensive production out of outside hitters Sophie Stork and Erin Jacobson, as the pair combined for 25 of the team’s 34 kills. Stork led the way with 15 kills and Jacobson trailed close behind with 10. Bree Ihrke posted five kills and Sarah George had four.

On the defensive side, Sidney Schultz stayed busy with 15 digs with Stork adding six digs and Hallie Schultz adding two. George led the team with four ace blocks, followed by two from Rhys Martin and one from Stork and Hallie Schultz.

Reach sports reporter Stephen McDaniel at 507-444-2375. Follow him on Twitter @OPP__Sports. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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