RYAN REEBENACKER, KVN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TRUMPET SPORTS WRITER
The Wartburg Knights added another chapter to a storied rivalry against the University of Dubuque Spartans last Tuesday by beating the Spartans 3-2. In a game defined by defense and backrow play, Katie Foster ’20 anchored the Knights by contributing 23 digs.
“You know, my teammates are just so awesome,” Foster said after the showing. “Our blockers are doing so well, Kylie [Bildstein ’21], Dani [Johnson ’21] and Paige [Deppe ’20]. Those girls play their butts off, and you get more adrenaline to go after every ball with that.”
Neither team was able to hit above 20% in the rematch of the conference’s best teams from last season. The lack of firepower both tested and proved a Wartburg back row that struggled to gel early in the season.
The Knights committed six receiving errors as opposed to the Spartans’ eight. “It feels good to be 2-0 in the conference,” Foster said. “ A lot of the girls stepped up tonight so it was fun. It’s always fun to beat them on our home court.”
The Knights were led in kills by its youngest starters in Zaiah Quirk ’22 and Natalie Clayberg ’23, as both totaled 14. Quirk was the second-most efficient attacker on the team with 31.4% hitting behind Kylie Bildstein ’21, who hit 35%.
Last season, Wartburg’s lone regular season conference loss was to Dubuque, however the Knights rebounded and went undefeated the rest of the way to win the regular season conference crown. The Spartans beat the Knights in the conference tournament to become American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) champions and claim the programs first NCAA tournament berth since 1999.
Wartburg now sits at 2-0 in conference play.