A volley-brawl

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Albert Lea bench was animated on Tuesday in New Richland as they came close to winning the match. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribne

NEW RICHLAND — The Albert Lea and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva volleyball teams put on quite the show Tuesday in New Richland.

The gym boomed with yelling and cheering for either team as the match went five sets before the Panthers came out ahead 3-2.

“Living in Albert Lea for 20 years, that is the single best volleyball match that I have seen played,” said Tigers head coach Lisa Deyak. “The girls could not have given it any more. They did an outstanding job.”

Panthers coach Joe Kuechenmeister said he knew the match was going to be a battle because he had seen Albert Lea play in a scrimmage last week.

“Albert Lea has a really nice setter, a nice libero and some girls who are really swinging the ball right now,” Kuechenmeister said.

NRHEG won sets two, three and five while Albert Lea won one and four.

The Tigers looked promising in the fifth set holding the lead until the Panthers scored their 14th point to take over the lead 14-13. NRHEG scored two more points to win after Albert Lea tied the set 14-14.

Kuechenmeister said he was happy with how the Panthers stuck in the game.

“I was impressed that when our backs were to the wall there in the fifth game, we were able to tighten the screws a bit and come back,” said Kuechenmeister.

Deyak said the Tigers did everything they could have done and everything they should have done to play out the fifth set.

Part of the reason Deyak said the Panthers did so well was because of Carlie Wagner.

“They’ve got a strong hitter in her,” Deyak said. “She’s their big point scorer.

Wagner scored the last point to win the match for the Panthers.

“Watching Carlie sky up and find that wide angle down the line was just a work of art,” Kuechenmeister said. “And, for her to be able to finish off that exciting of a match after struggling the majority of the match is a definite highlight.”

The other player Kuechenmeister wanted to recognize was Raelin Schue.

“She was phenomenal,” Kuechenmeister said. “She showed up tonight. She had 11 kills, and we look for that level of play all season long from her.”

See the scoreboard for more detailed results.

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