The volleyball team at Sleepy Eye High School is right in the thick of the competition of the Tomahawk conference of Section 2AA. An overall record of 4-8-2 pits Sleepy Eye in third-to-last place right now but can still mathematically win the conference; rival Sleepy Eye – St. Mary’s leads the conference with six wins and one loss excluding nonconference games.
Sleepy Eye made an early exit from the section tournament last year, losing to Nicollet in four sets (28-26, 18-25, 22-25 and 13-25) in the Round of 32. This year’s squad is already playing markedly better than the 2016 version of this team. Seniors Madi Heiderscheidt and Jenna Zuhldorf are returning to the team after being sidelined due to injury according to Sleepy Eye coach Sydney Geiger.
Geiger wants to focus on adjusting daily to better succeed.
“We want to find ways to improve each game and play hard throughout the entire match,” said Geiger.
Sleepy Eye’s five losses in the Tomahawk conference aren’t ideal but with five matches left in the season, there are still several opportunities for the team to climb in the standings. Sleepy Eye has picked up its two wins in-conference by defeating Springfield in the second match of the season and Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart; both teams were swept by Sleepy Eye in three sets.
“I would say almost all conference games should be good matches for us,” said Geiger. “But to name a couple I think St. Mary’s, [Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop] and Wabasso.”
Sleepy Eye has fallen twice to the conference-leader St. Mary’s, both matches going to four sets with Sleepy Eye – Public on the losing end of the intercity rivalry for the regular season.
The team is finished playing GFW for the regular season in September, losing in three sets (18-25, 15-25, and 15-25). Wabasso still remains on Sleepy Eye’s schedule; the two teams will meet at Sleepy Eye High School Tuesday, Oct. 10. The match is a key opportunity for Sleepy Eye to gain a step on one of the best teams in Section 2AA.
As of now, Sleepy Eye is four games back of the first place St. Mary’s Knights; a high seed in the postseason isn’t necessarily out of the realm of possibility for the team. After the top four teams in the standings (St. Mary’s, Wabasso, New Ulm Cathedral and Cedar Mountain-Comfrey), no team has an overall winning record according to Max Preps. The parity amongst the lower two-third of teams allows for enough mobility in the standings for Sleepy Eye to make a jump.
The team has performed well against good teams like St. Mary’s despite losing those matches. They will continue to be tested when facing Wabasso, who has yet to lose a game in both the Tomahawk conference and tournament play. Winning just one match last season, Sleepy Eye has already shown this season that they are ready to get back in the fight for a section title. Teammates return to the team healthy and ready to lead the team to new heights in the future. The team can get started immediately with wins in the coming weeks.