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Youthful Blue Devils gain experience in 5-game loss to Minnesota West

The Riverland Community College volleyball team had its young roster put to an early test as it struggled to stay consistent in a loss to Minnesota West 3-2 by scores of 25-10, 16-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-8 in its home opener in Riverland Gym Wednesday.

The Blue Devils looked like the better team during the second and fourth games, but struggled with their rhythm in all three losses. West scored the first four points of the deciding game and rolled on to take the match.

RCC’s roster includes all first-year players as the Blue Devils did not compete in 2020. But head coach Jamie Meyer is familiar with at least two of those newcomers. She coached Austin grads Madisyn Retterath and Ava Boverhouis as an interim coach with the Packers last fall and has brought them with her to RCC. Boverhouis had 11 kills and three blocks against West (4-1 overall) and Retterath added 14 digs.

“Personally, I think it’s really nice to be playing with Ava again,” Retterath said. “On the first day it was nice knowing somebody. She’s been someone for me to lean on.”

Retterath is thrilled to be back on the volleyball court after missing most of her senior year with a knee injury. She’s making progress in her recovery and she thinks the Blue Devils will make plenty of progress this fall as well.

“I was a little nervous at first, but it’s been great so far and I love it,” Retterath said. “We can keep improving, but we just need to get more comfortable playing together because we’re all from different places. So far, we’re playing pretty well.”

The Blue Devils (0-2 overall) built up a 17-10 lead in a must-win fourth game and Waseca grad Camryn McQuery had a big kill to make it 22-18 to quell a Lady Jays rally. Lexi Gerber of Hayfield had a kill to make it 24-20 and Makenna Krause of Stewartville served an ace to win the game.

RCC’s Sydney Taylor served an ace to tie the third game at 24-24 to finish off a big comeback where RCC had trailed by as many as seven, but West scored the last two points to take the game. 

RCC never had a lead in the pivotal third game, but Boverhouis did have an early kill to bring the team within 7-5. West went on to jump out to a 15-8 lead and RCC fought back to get as close as 23-20 on a block by Boverhouis and a side-out. The Lady Jays led 24-20, but three straight points by the Blue Devils gave them a chance.

RCC came out swinging in the second game as Boverhouis put together back-to-back kills to put the Blue Devils up 10-9 and Retterath served three straight points, with an ace at the end to make it 16-10.

Gerber, who racked up 12 kills, had the first RCC kill of the night to tie the first game at 1-1, and RCC was within 4-3 before the Lady Jays scored six straight points to put it away.

RCC stats: Sydney Taylor, 8 kills, 3 ace serves; Ava Boverhouis, 11 kills, 3 blocks; Camryn McQuery, 8 kills; Madisyn Retterath, 14 digs, 2 aces; Carissa Nelson, 1 ace; Lexi Gerber, 12 kills; Makenna Krause, 38 set assists, 1 ace; Mallory Evans, 10 digs