CMCS wins, Monte falls in openers
ST. PAUL -- The Bluejays of Central Minnesota Christian said they didn't play their best match of the season Thursday. Looking at the statistics from their win over Bertha-Hewitt in quarterfinals of the Class A State Tournament it wouldn't look t...
ST. PAUL -- The Bluejays of Central Minnesota Christian said they didn't play their best match of the season Thursday. Looking at the statistics from their win over Bertha-Hewitt in quarterfinals of the Class A State Tournament it wouldn't look that way, but if they can "pull it together" today, they could hand Minneota its first loss.
Senior all-around specialist Kresson Vreeman led a group of three players that had 10-or-more kills and junior Cassie Ulferts had four ace serves to help CMCS post a 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21 win that moves the Bluejays into the semifinals.
Today's 1 p.m. meeting at Xcel Energy Center will mark the second time this season that Minneota (28-0) and CMCS (22-9) will square off. The Vikings swept the Bluejays 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 Sept. 11 in a Camden Conference match in Minneota.
CMCS started out strong against Bertha-Hewitt, building up a 10-3 lead in the first game behind three ace serves from Ulferts. The Bears -- whose only loss coming into the match was against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, the same team CMCS swept later in the season -- then started to claw their way back. The Bears got within three on three occasions, but a kill from Vreeman helped the Bluejays close out the game on a 4-2 run.
The second game was nearly played the same way as the opener as CMCS owned an eight-point lead near the midway point before Bertha-Hewitt made a run to get within striking distance. After the Bears pulled within three, a Bertha-Hewitt hitting error, Kari Mulder's ace block and a kill from Vreeman gave the Bluejays a 2-0 lead.
"We knew we could come out strong," said Vreeman, who finished with a match-high 13 kills and 28 assists. "Their only loss was to KMS and we beat them, so we knew we could take a 2-0 lead."
It looked like CMCS would advance with a sweep, but the Bears took advantage of mental errors committed by CMCS. Three straight kills from junior Abby Tebben and a Bertha-Hewitt hitting error allowed CMCS to take a 12-11 lead, but after that the Bears took control with the help of five CMCS hitting errors.
"We struggled against the pass and when you can't do that things go down hill," said Vreeman.
The fourth game went back-and-forth early on as neither team collected more than three points in a row. Vreeman caught the Bears off guard with an across-court tip that gave CMCS a 9-8 lead, but Bertha-Hewitt answered back with a kill from Molly Moenkedick. Tebben put the Bluejays back on top with a kill, but again Bertha-Hewitt tied it up again.
The Bears started to get tired, though, as CMCS put together a 10-5 run to take a 20-15 lead. Bertha-Hewitt did manage to get within three, but with a chance to put the game away and advance to the semifinals, Vreeman and the Bluejays took advantage. Vreeman had two kills and Tebben notched another before Ulferts hammered down a kill to the left side to end the match.
"We didn't play our best match, but we'll get it together tomorrow," said Ulferts, who also piled up 12 kills and 20 assists.
The Bears had five players entering the match with over 100 kills, but CMCS deployed a triple block that made the Bertha-Hewitt offense skip a beat.
"The thing that seems to get us fired up are the big plays on defense," said Vreeman. "Our blocking struggled early in the year, but it's getting better now."
Mulder -- who had 10 kills -- Ulferts and senior Tara Frikke had two ace blocks each.
CMCS 3, Bertha-Hewitt 1
CMCS (22-9)..........................25 25 21 25
Bertha-Hewitt (30-2)..............20 20 25 21
Central Minnesota Christian
Serving: Abby Tebben 0-1-0, Jenny Blom 16-16-0, Cassie Ulferts 15-17-4, Lacey Tebben 2-3-0, Moriah Gulbranson 14-14-2, Kresson Vreeman 17-19-1, Kaitlyn Link 7-10-0, Rachelle Marcus 15-15-0 ... Setting: Blom 1-2-1, Tara Frikke 5-5-2, Ulferts 64-65-20, L. Tebben 3-3-2, Gulbranson 4-4-1, Vreeman 94-94-28 ... Hitting: A. Tebben 31-37-9, Kari Mulder 21-25-10, Blom 18-25-5, Frikke 25-28-9, Ulferts 21-28-12, L. Tebben 1-1-0, Gulbranson 2-2-0, Vreeman 20-26-13, Paige Dobmeier 1-1-0 ... Blocking (total): A. Tebben 1, Mulder 2, Blom 1, Frikke 2, Ulferts 2, Dobmeier 1 ... Digs: A. Tebben 2, Mulder 3, Blom 9, Frikke 2, Ulferts 13, L. Tebben 3, Gulbranson 15, Vreeman 27, Link 13, Marcus 2
Serving: Kayla Finck 14-14-0, Jessica Finck 10-10-0, Amanda Kneisl 15-15-3, Demi Stokes 11-11-0, Kayla Kempe 15-16-3, Madison Aeling 21-21-1 ... Setting: K. Finck 105-105-25, Rachel Voeltz 5-6-2, J. Finck 10-10-2, Kneisl 15-15-2, Stokes 8-9-1, Molly Moenkedick 3-3-0, Kempe 7-71, Aeling 2-2-0 ... Hitting: K. Finck 27-28-5, Voeltz 24-34-9, J. Finck 23-27-6, Kneisl 21-25-4, Stokes 9-11-1, Moenkedick 34-40-10, Kempe 1-2-0 ... Blocking (total): K. Finck 2, Voeltz 7, J. Finck 4, Kneisl 1 ... Digs: K. Finck 18, J. Finck 13, Kneisl 9, Stokes 3, Moenkedick 5, Kempe 14, Aeling 7