Volleyball suffers defeat on homecoming day

The+womens+volleyball+team+fell+against+nationally+ranked+Concordia+-+St.+Paul+on+Oct.+22+despite+winning+against+Minnesota+State+-+Mankato+on+the+Thursday+prior.

The women’s volleyball team fell against nationally ranked Concordia – St. Paul on Oct. 22 despite winning against Minnesota State – Mankato on the Thursday prior.

Kailey Doeseckle, Sports Reporter

The Winona State University volleyball team opened the exciting 2022 Warrior Homecoming celebration on the road at Minnesota State – Mankato on Thursday before returning home for the homecoming matchup against nationally ranked Concordia – St. Paul on Saturday.  

Thursday was an excellent match for the Warriors, who earned a four-set victory over Minnesota State Mankato. 

Winona State used a very effective offense in the first set to jump to an early 1-0 lead but were stifled by the Mavericks in the second as they evened the match at a set apiece.  

In the third set, Winona State produced their best offensive frame of the evening, committing just two errors and hitting .417 before closing out the match with a 25-18 fourth set victory that highlighted their tough defense.  

The Warriors used a spread attack throughout the match as four Warriors recorded at least eight kills. Sidney Paulson led the way with 13 kills, while Lydia Lange was just behind with 12.  

But Jaci Winchell was the main facilitator of the Warriors’ offense, dishing out an impressive 39 assists and picking up 11 digs to record a double-double. Casey Volkmann added 13 digs as a key part of the WSU defense. 

“The one thing we talked about practicing is bringing urgency the entire practice, and I think that carries into the game,” Paulson said regarding preparation before every game. “For me personally, I think just focusing on the moment as I’m getting ready for each game, and that really helps me.” 

Paulson certainly brought that urgency, also recording a double-double with her team high of 13 kills and 14 digs.  

Unfortunately, the homecoming match on Saturday did not have the same results.  

Winona State just could not get things rolling on the offensive end, and Concordia-St. Paul (CSP) was able to outmatch at 46 kills compared to the Warriors 30, resulting in a devastating three-set defeat. 

CSP opened the match with an early lead in the first set, but Winona State battled back to get within two points at 17-19. The late rally came to an end as the Golden Bears managed the last six points to win the opening frame at 25-19.  

In the second set, the Warriors trailed the entirety as CSP put on a strong offensive performance, hitting for 17 kills and just three errors as for a 25-14 second-set victory.  

While Winona State showed determination in the final set, it just was not enough as the Golden Bears claimed the third set as well with at 25-18, closing the match at 3-0.  

Despite the outcome, the Warriors played extremely well against the Golden Bears who are currently ranked number three in the country and stand at 19-2 overall, and 12-1 in NSIC play.  

Winchell added another double-double to her impressive freshman campaign with 25 assists and 10 digs. Paulson, Volkmann and Rylee Vaughn also contributed significantly to the Warrior back row in the dig category.  

On the attack, Lange connected for eight kills to pace Winona State, and Paulson added six.  

“I think I need to keep performing my best and keep talking to them,” Gianna Vollrath, a middle blocker and outside hitter from Fall Creek, Wis. said regarding her lasting impact as a freshman on the team. “I really think that if I make a mistake, I know they’ll have my back and I’ll get the next point.”  

Vollrath certainly brought her best to face the tough opponents, matching her career-high with six kills.  

While the homecoming match may not have worked out in the Warriors favor, the fans certainly brought the hype with them. A larger crowd than usual made an appearance to show their support, creating excitement among the team no matter the result.  

Winona State will have a quick turnaround as they travel to Upper Iowa on Tuesday, Oct. 25. With only five conference contests remaining, Winona State currently sits in a tie for eighth place in the NSIC standings.