Break out the broom: Austin sweeps up Rochester Lourdes

Published 10:05 pm Friday, August 23, 2019

The Austin volleyball team came out with a focused and steady approach as it cut past Rochester Lourdes by scores of 25-13, 25-22, 25-16 to open its season in Packer Gym Friday.

For a program that hasn’t had a lot of three-game sweeps in the last decade, it was as much a relief as it was a celebration when Madisyn Retterath went on a five-point serving run to seal the the third and final game. Seniors Avery Thompson, who had four kills, and AJ Richard, who had 14 set assists, were asked how bad they wanted to finish the sweep after the match and they simultaneously conjured up the same answer — “so bad.”

There was nothing bad about the Packers performance against the Eagles as they never trailed by more than four in any game. When they did slip up, Austin found the energy to get back in it. Lourdes tied the second game 21-21, but Erica Lundebrg responded with a pair of kills, including a back-line shot to seal that game.

Austin’s Avery Thompson hits against Rochester Lourdes in game two Friday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/

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It’s pin-point shots like Lundberg’s that the Packers have been working on in practice.

“We’ve been working a lot in practice lately on playing intelligently and not just playing,” Thompson said. “We’re really looking at finding spots and we’re trying to be insistent in rhythm.  We’re working way better at not just killing the ball every time, we’re finding spots.”

Richard played the primary setter role on Friday and she was able to put her hitters in the right spot to find the right angles.

“I feel like we did pretty good after only having two weeks of practice,” Richard said. “We’ve had a huge improvement from the start of the season to now. I’m very proud of my team.”

Austin played the match with returnees Jordyn McCormack and Elyse Hebrink out of the lineup, but head coach Lauren Cost was pleased with how her team came out to play.

Austin’s Alijha Richard sets at the net against Rochester Lourdes Friday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/

“It was very important to get this win. We have an injury situation right now and to see everyone step up and play through it gives everyone a lot of confidence. Hopefully they have a lot of confidence in their abilities. It’s a great way to start the season,” Cost said.

This is Austin’s second year under Cost and the team is starting to pick up her system without hesitating, which will be crucial when the pace picks up.

“Everything’s more normal now. It’s not brand new and it’s a lot easier to run things. The comfort level that they have with each other is high. That will save us in a lot of situations,” Cost said. “(AJ’s) a little bit quieter, but she has a good court demeanor and I think her teammates are comfortable with her. She made some good decisions tonight.”

Austin stats: Leslie Rodriguez, 3 aces, 3 digs; Avery Thompson, 4 kills, 4 digs; Erica Lundberg, 6 kills, 9 digs; Kennedy Bell, 3 kills; Kyra Walters, 3 kills; Madisyn Retterath, 19 digs, 4 aces; AJ Richard, 14 set assists

Austin’s Alexis Stich sets the ball forward in game one against Rochester Lourdes Friday night in Packer Gym. Eric Johnson/