Mike Stetson, Sports Information Director
FOREST CITY – A career-night for several of Waldorf’s young players ended up spoiled by the gritty determination of the visiting Presentation Saints.
The Saints made a strong charge to open the third set, helping turn around the momentum in the match as they rallied to top the Warrior volleyball team, 22-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-9 in North Star Athletic Association play Thursday night at the Hanson Fieldhouse.
“It was a tough loss tonight against a very gritty opponent,” Waldorf head coach Bri Ebenhoe said. “We saw improvements in several areas of our game, but it wasn’t quite enough to pull out the win. We are still looking to put together the consistent, low-error match that we want.”
From the start, things looked very good for the Warriors (0-4 overall, 0-2 NSAA) as a kill by Abygail Wood, a tandem block by Charlotte Wright and Ariel Pindegayosh, and a Kaylee Kidd service ace tied the opening set, 13-13.
That surge gave Waldorf momentum that the hosts rode to 24-17 lead after a Kaitlyn Bakke kill, and eventually the early win on a Pindegayosh kill.
The Warriors then charged in front in the second set, on top 8-2 after a Trinity Perez kill, and led comfortably 24-14 after a Perez service ace before the Saints (3-3, 1-1) started building some of their own momentum.
Making a late charge in the second set fueled by a Makenzey Burggraff kill, a Burggraff ace and an Ashley Alfonso kill, Presentation closed to 24-21 down before Waldorf finished off win No. 2.
Maybe the spark the Saints needed, as they jumped in front in the third set and weathered Waldorf’s efforts to complete the sweep.
The Warriors led 18-15 after a Wright and Pindegayosh tandem block, but strong serving by Presentation’s Laura Babcock, which included a pair of aces, powered a 5-0 run that put Waldorf in comeback mode.
The Warriors tied the set late, 22-22 on a Saints miscue, but Presentation’s grit held out as the Saints rallied to prolong the match.
Determined to finish the match in four, Waldorf charged to a 9-2 lead after Kenzie Kidd sandwiched a pair of kills around one by Pindegayosh, but the gritty Saints hung tough.
Two Alfonso kills got Presentation as close as 13-12 down in the fourth, and back-to-back tandem blocks by Morgan Moeller and Maggie Gall put the Saints on top, 19-17.
Waldorf proved just as determined, though, answering with four straight kills and a Kaylee Kidd service ace for a 22-19 lead, but Presentation surged late again, evening the match.
In the fifth, the Warriors were as close as 7-6 down after back-to-back miscues by the Saints only to see Presentation use a 4-0 charge to take control en route to the comeback win.
Kenzie Kidd led the Warriors with a career-high 20 kills and 14 digs on the night while her sister, Kaylee Kidd, had a career-high 28 digs. Wood added 11 kills and eight blocks for Waldorf, which also got a career-high 47 assists from Bakke, and Perez served up a career-high four aces for the Warriors, who next host Mayville State on Friday at 7 p.m.
“We are going to celebrate our bright spots, including career highs in kills for Kenzie Kidd, a career-high in digs from Kaylee Kidd, a career-high in assists for Kaitlyn Bakke, and a career-high in aces from Trinity Perez,” Ebenhoe said. “And we are looking to get better tomorrow against Mayville.”
As for Presentation, Morgan Moelter and Evy Peterson each had a team-high nine kills, while Babcock added 21 digs, Constence Rollins had seven kills and six blocks, Sydney Miller dished out 18 assists and made 12 digs, and Rebecca Allen added 12 assists.