The large, partisan crowd chanted, "Hammer! Hammer!" on big hits for the NRHEG volleyball team Thursday night in their matchup with rival Blooming Prairie. The Panther band played during warm-ups. Families filled the stands in New Richland. The fans and crowds are back at high school sporting events this fall after a season of limited attendance in 2020.

The Panthers won the match 3-1 in a Kat Kountry broadcast. It is also homecoming week at NRHEG and Blooming Prairie with many events happening including pep fests and parades on Friday.

Blooming Prairie came out on fire, building a 20-10 first set lead. However, NRHEG stormed back to take a 23-22 lead before the Blossoms closed it out 26-24.

BP also found themselves ahead in the second set 4-2 and 12-10. NRHEG went on a 7-2 run and didn't look back, winning 25-20 to square the night at one set apiece.

The Awesome Blossoms scored the first four points of the third set, but the Panthers zipped ahead and won 25-16 for a 2-sets-to-1 lead.

NRHEG started the fourth set with a 10-6 and 16-8 lead, winning 25-19 to take the Gopher Conference match 3-sets-to-1. Erin Jacobson and Sophie Stork, plus possibly Bree Ihrke, reached double-digit kills for the Panthers (11-5, 3-2). NRHEG had more than 20 aces.

Blooming Prairie (3-15, 0-6) had strong hitting and blocking nights from Abigail Hefling, Haven Carlson, Josie Hoffman and Anna Pauly.

The Panthers host Martin Luther-Granada-Huntley-East Chain-Truman Friday night in a 7 pm varsity only makeup match. NRHEG homecoming football is Saturday, October 2 at 7 pm against top-ten ranked Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop.

BP football, No. 1 ranked in AA, hosts St. Clair-Mankato Loyola Friday night at 7 pm in a Kat Kountry 105 FM broadcast.

Prep scores for Thursday, September 30
Goodhue 3, Dover-Eyota 0
Hayfield 3, Maple River 0
Mankato East 3, Rochester JM 2
NRHEG 3, Blooming Prairie 1
Northfield 3, Austin 0
Red Wing 3, Faribault 2
Rochester Century 3, Winona 0
Rochester Mayo 3, Owatonna 0
St. Peter 3, Waseca 1
Stewartville 3, Fillmore Central 0
USC 3, Triton 0

Girls soccer
Mankato West 4, Owatonna 2

Boys soccer
Mankato West 3, Owatonna 0

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