MCW’s balanced effort blanks FHS

FAIRMONT – Martin County West outside hitter Jordan Gregory moved a bit gingerly during the pre-match volleyball warmups Monday night at Cardinal Gym.

“I hurt my hip flexor against Alden-Conger (last Tuesday night),” Gregory said in reference to the elastic bandage wrapped tightly around her hip.

The injury, however, did not slow Gregory much as the sophomore spiker joined middle hitter Kate Thiesse and outside hitter Hailey Leiding in equally accounting for 30 kills to engineer the visiting Mavericks’ 25-15, 25-14, 25-19 nonconference sweep victory over Fairmont at Cardinal Gym.

“When I looked up and saw 5s and 6s across the scoreboard (kills column), that demonstrates the balance we have on this team,” said Martin County West mentor Mary Sussenguth.

Cardinal head coach Brad Haugen utilized 6-foot-1 Kayla Lardy and 6-0 Courtney Mosloski in an attempt to counter the Mavericks’ multi-faceted hitting attack, but the blue-and-black simply had too many weapons to stop.

After Kersten Shantz’s kill off one of setter Emily Kim’s team-best 15 assists staked Fairmont to an early 3-2 edge in the opener, Leiding and Gregory warmed up their kill strokes.

Leiding unleashed a cross-court sizzler off one of Kennedy Janssen’s match-best 23 set assists to knot Game 1 at 3-all to rotate Autumn Smith to the service area.

Smith, who proved a perfect 20 of 20 at the line, delivered four of her match-leading 15 points to stake MCW to a lead – 7-3 – that it would not relinquish.

Gregory combined with McKenna Taylor for a double block before pounding down a thundering cross-court kill via a Janssen loft to extend the Mavericks’ margin to 10-4 before Mosloski countered for the Cardinals.

Mosloski’s tip block on an MCW overpass and teammate Sydney Glienke’s angled drive kept Fairmont within striking distance at 12-7, but Gregory would regain the momentum for the visitors.

Taylor batted down one of her six kills from Janssen to earn a sideout kill before Gregory reeled off four unanswered service points to put the Mavericks in the driver’s seat at 16-7.

Mosloski and Glienke countered down the stretch for Fairmont, but back-to-back kills from Gregory eventually led to MCW’s 25-15 opening victory.

Gregory, who also displayed her serving prowess by connecting on 18 of 19 for 13 points on the match, unleashed six consecutive points out of the leadoff spot in Game 2 to build an early 7-1 edge.

Lardy and Mosloski chipped away from the frontline for Fairmont, but MCW blended Reilly Geistfeld into the balanced hitting mix to eventually build an 18-11 lead in the middle game.

Thiesse delivered an ace block and two quick spikes off Janssen sets to create a flurry of points on the guests’ side of the scoreboard before Leiding and Gregory contributed line-drive winners to 24-13.

Shantz countered with a sideout kill for Fairmont only to watch as Thiesse scorched Janssen’s perfectly-timed set to the hardwood floor for the final point at 25-14.

Once again, Gregory jumpstarted the Mavericks’ offense out of the No. 1 spot in the service rotation, building an early 3-0 Game 3 lead.

Leiding later smacked down one of setter Ellie Kuehl’s nine assists for a key sideout kill at 8-all before Autumn Smith created separation on the scoreboard by delivering five service points in a row.

Shantz, Lardy and Kim slowly inched the Cardinals to ties at 17-all and 18-all before Thiesse took control of the airwaves above the net down the stretch.

Thiesse converted a slide spike for a cross-court ace winner to swing a 22-19 lead in the Mavericks’ direction before Smith served out the last three points. Thiesse thundered home the match-sealing kill off a Cardinal overpass too close to the twine.

Mosloski, Shantz and Lardy each tallied six kills to top the Cardinals, while Glienke chipped in four spike-winners.

Fairmont (2-7, 1-2 South Central) travels to Blue Earth Area tonight for a conference match, while Martin County West (9-4, 2-0 Valley) hits the road to Madelia tonight for a league showdown.

Payton Walser delivered 12 kills and five digs to help guide Fairmont to a 24-26, 25-21, 15-7 victory over Martin County West in B-squad action Monday in Fairmont.

Tahnisha Jimenez recorded eight digs and four ace serves for the Cardinals, Sarah Tschumperlin delivered five kills and three digs, while Katelynn Noah supplied four kills and three ace serves.

Alyssa Westcott distributed seven set assists for Fairmont, while Morgan Seifried chipped in five digs and four set assists.