Women's Volleyball Finishes Season with Two Road Losses

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s volleyball team capped off their season with two road losses to Southwest Minnesota State University and the University of Sioux Falls.  

In their final match of the season, the Golden Eagles pushed the Sioux Falls Cougars in two sets but ultimately fell 0-3. 

After Charlee Krieg got the first point on the board for Crookston, Sioux Falls went on a 4-point run with a block and sneaky tip from their setter to take the early 5-1 lead.  

The Golden Eagles responded with a 5-point run of their own, highlighted by kills from Natalie Koke and Mara Weisensel and two service aces from Layne Whaley, to take the lead 11-9.  

Crookston wasn’t able to sustain it for too long, as Sioux Falls put up eight unanswered points, uninhibited by a Golden Eagle timeout.  

Weisensel momentarily stalled the run with a kill, but the Cougars went on to take the first set 25-19. 

The two teams battled back and forth in the second set, as it was tied 15 times with five lead changes.  

The Golden Eagles took the opening point with a kill from Weisensel, and she regained the lead shortly after with a solo block and an additional kill.  

Tied at 12 with a kill from Bailey Schaefer, the Cougars responded and would not trail the rest of the set.  

Sioux Falls took a 19-15 lead with a 4-point run, but Crookston responded with four points of their own to knot it at 19.  

Krieg kept the Golden Eagles in the set at 21 and 22 all with her two kills, but the Cougars rattled off the last three points to take the second set 25-22. 

In the final set, Crookston lost their energy, as they put only nine points on the board. They didn’t go down without a fight, though, as they went on a 3-point run with a double block and Weisensel kill. 

Schaefer led the team with 10 kills, followed by Weisensel and Krieg with 7 and 5, respectively. Schaefer also led in digs with 9, as both Whaley and Lauren Wallace added 8. Koke totaled 22 assists. 

Against the No. 14 ranked Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs, Crookston improved from their first matchup, but the result, a 0-3 loss, remained the same. 

Crookston used a small run to tie the first set at 5, but Southwest Minnesota State responded with a run of their own to go up 9-5.  

The Mustangs slowly increased their lead before putting up 8 unanswered points to run away with the set 25-11. 

The Golden Eagles hung with the Mustangs early in the second set thanks to kills from Krieg and Schaefer, but SMSU broke away with miscommunication and errors from Crookston to take a 15-6 lead. 

With two kills, Wallace sparked a run that brought the Golden Eagles back within four, but they couldn’t hang on. The Mustangs went on one more run before capping off the set 25-18 with an ace. 

In the third set, Crookston broke four ties to take their first long-lasting lead of the match. The Golden Eagles led as late as 10-9 before the Mustangs fought back with a 7-point run.  

The Golden Eagles showed some signs of life toward the end of the set as Schaefer produced a kill and Koke served up an ace, but Crookston dropped the third set 25-17. 

Schaefer and Wallace totaled 8 kills apiece, as Schaefer and Koke both had 7 digs. Whaley, however, led the team with 11 digs. Koke also had 18 assists. 

The Golden Eagles finished their season 1-24 with their lone win at Minot State. All but two players will return next season, as the team says goodbye to seniors Bailey Mulcahy and Wallace.   

Bailey Schaefer serves
Lauren Wallace goes for the kill. She had 9 on the weekend.
Natalie Koke surprises the defense with a tip
Layne Whaley sets the ball