SHAKOPEE – “It was our worst passing game of the season.” Not exactly a quote you would expect to hear from a winning coach, but that’s exactly what Shakopee head coach Matt Busch said after winning 25-18, 25-22, 25-13 in Missota Conference action Thursday night over New Prague. It was a match that saw big comebacks and runs for 5th ranked team in Class AAA Shakopee Sabers and a very good performance from New Prague.
New Prague was firing on all cylinders out of the gate by jumping out to a 8-1 lead in set one thanks to kills from middle hitter Lexi Reuhling and outside hitter Sydney Foss and a great blocking plan to shut down Shakopee’s attack. Shakopee head coach Matt Busch would use a timeout to adjust the attack and remind the girls that passing is the start of everything in volleyball and they needed to serve receive better. New Prague would maintain that lead all the way up to 14-7 before the Coach Busch’s words would set in as Shakopee finally got their offense together with good passes up to setters Rachel Rhinesmith and Maggie Holcombe.
The biggest run for Shakopee would come on the serve of Maggie Holcombe who started her serve after Shakopee had made the score 17-15 after a kill from Claire Sames and would lead Shakopee to a 9-0 run to make the score 23-17 as New Prague coach Angie Anderson would use one of the Trojans timeout in the middle, but the block for Shakopee would stop the attack from Marissa Ekness. Shakopee would finish off the first set a couple of points later to win 25-18.
The second set would be a much closer match all the way through as neither team would have more than a four-point lead at any point of the set. Once again New Prague would again start strong with a 6-3 lead and even lead 12-8. The big difference this set is that Shakopee would have to slowly work their way back into the set with a lot of side out volleyball before finally taking the lead at 16-15. New Prague would not go away as they would tie the match at 18, 20, and 21, but Shakopee would hold on to win the second set 25-22.
The final set would follow the script that had been in the first two as New Prague would get the early lead with a 3-0 start and even be up 5-3 before another huge run by Shakopee. For the second time in the evening a service set by Maggie Holcombe would give the Sabers a 7-0 run to put them up 10-5. “Maggie was solid with her serve and since it’s so low to the net it’s hard for teams to read it correctly and she hits her spots really well tonight,” Shakopee head coach Matt Busch would say afterwards. That big run would give Shakopee a big lead they would not let up as they would cruise to a 25-13 win.
Shakopee improves to 3-1 in the Missota Conference and 15-2 on the season and will host Minnetonka Monday night on their Diggin’ Pink Night. New Prague falls to 1-3 in the Missota Conference and 5-9 overall and will travel to Belle Plaine on Tuesday.
By: Adam Bartels