Volleyball Honors 2020, 2021 Seniors in Final Home Weekend

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s volleyball team hosted alumni weekend where the team honored its 2020 and 2021 seniors. 

On Saturday against No. 8 ranked Wayne State College, the team honored its current seniors, Lauren Wallace and Bailey Mulcahy. On the previous day, they honored their 2020 seniors Katie Lienemann, Deaira Gresham and Sydney Kruisselbrink.  

While head coach Sarah Morgan had great things to say about all her seniors, she had a few special words for the 2020 seniors.  

“As soon as that season got cancelled for us last fall, it was tough . . . to put in three years of work,” Morgan said. “Those three have meant so much to our program. They were here with me in my first year, and they helped me build this program. To be able to honor them tonight was awesome, and I’m glad we were able to do it.” 

In the first set against Wayne State on Saturday, the Golden Eagles dropped the first two points before going on a 4-point run, aided by a kill from Wallace and service ace from Maria Bustos Garcia.  

The Wildcats tied the set at 5 and 6 apiece before taking the lead for good on a free-ball kill. They extended their lead to 16-11 with a 4-point run of their own. 

UMC called a timeout to stall Wayne State’s momentum, and Charlee Krieg did just that as she got the next point on a kill.  

Krieg, who had 6 kills in the game, has been seeing more success late in the season thanks to teammates. 

“I’m really working on trusting my training and my teammates around me,” Krieg said. “There are days where everyone gets in their head, and my team has been a really good support system. They trust me, so why not trust myself?” 

Krieg’s kill wasn’t enough, however, as the Wildcats went on to win the first set 25-15. 

The Golden Eagles continued to be competitive in the second set, as they tied the Wildcats at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 points.  

Wayne State regained the lead with a 4-point run. Kills from Bailey Schaefer and Grace Arndorfer brought the set within 3, but the Wildcats went on another 4-point run for the definitive lead.  

UMC scored just four more points that set with kills from Wallace and Krieg and two from Schaefer, as Wayne State took the second set 25-13. 

The Golden Eagles ran out of energy, as they dropped the first seven points of the third set. Arndorfer gave Crookston its first points will a kill and Wallace served up an ace to bring the set within five, but the Wildcats went on a decisive 5-point run from which the Golden Eagles couldn’t come back. UMC dropped the final set 12-25. 

Four Golden Eagles contributed offensively. Schaefer led the team with 8 kills, while Krieg, Mara Weisensel, and Wallace added 6 apiece.  

Morgan said this type of offensive spread is critical to the team. 

“I love it,” Morgan said. “When we are rolling five or six hitters, we’re tough to stop for sure. Natalie did a great job of distributing our offense and it was great to see.” 

Per usual, Koke led the team with 25 assists, while Wallace had a team-high 7 digs. Layne Whaley, Koke and Schaefer added 6 digs apiece. 

In Friday’s contest against Augustana, Crookston also fell 0-3. 

The two teams tied the set seven times with three lead changes, but the Vikings took a definitive lead with a 4-point run late in the first set.  

A double block and ace from Koke brough the set within two, but Augustana captured the first set 25-22. 

The Golden Eagles dropped the first four points in the next set before a kill from Bustos Garcia put UMC on the board.  

Wallace had kills at key moments in the set, but the Vikings put together small enough runs that amounted to a 25-12 win. 

In the third set, Crookston took a 2-1 lead with a free-ball kill from Weisensel, but Augustana responded with a kill and tip to take the lead.  

UMC knotted it back up at 6 with a double block, but that’s the closest they got the rest of the set. The Vikings went on a 6-point run for a 13-7 lead.  

The Golden Eagles made a small comeback in late in the set when Wallace had a kill and Koke served back-to-back aces, but it wasn’t enough as the Vikings took the set, and game, 25-17. 

Wallace led the team with 8 kills and 7 digs. Krieg and Weisensel added 5 more kills apiece. Whaley dug out 8 balls while Koke had an impressive game all around. She had 4 kills, 20 assists, 3 aces, and 5 digs. 

The women’s volleyball team concludes their season on the road this weekend with matches against No. 14 Southwest Minnesota State University and the University of Sioux Falls.  

Bailey Mulcahy receives the serve
Bailey Schaefer tips the ball over blockers
Mara Weisensel and Lauren Wallace block the kill
Grace Arndorfer goes for the kill
Natalie Koke sets the ball at the net
Charlee Krieg and Maria Bustos Garcia with the double block