WILLMAR — The Ridgewater volleyball team earned a share of the MCAC Southern Division championship on Wednesday and the Warriors will engage co-champ Rochester in a neutral-court match Saturday that will decide which team hosts the upcoming Region 13A.
The Warriors rebounded from a game two blip and dominated Anoka-Ramsey on Wednesday, winning 25-18, 18-25, 25-14, 25-16 on Wednesday at the Ridgewater gym.
The Warriors, 13-1 in the MCAC and 19-8, play Rochester Saturday at Anoka-Ramsey in Coon Rapids.
The Yellowjackets (13-1, 24-5) earned a spot in Saturday’s match with a three-game win over Riverland on Wednesday.
“I’m happy for our team that we’ve earned a share of the regular season divisional championship,” said Warriors head coach Joe Sussenguth. “Our first year players have made big contributions and our three sophomores have been a strong backbone for us all season. They’ve put in a great effort throughout the season to be in the position to earn an opportunity to host the regional tournament next weekend.”
Tegan VanMoer had 11 kills and Jen Puncochar had 10 on Wednesday.
Tiffani Karbo set up 34 winners, Hailey Osland served up 6 aces and Morgan Meyer had 4 ace serves.
Anoka-Ramsey rallied strong in game two, winning 25-18. But the Warriors righted themselves and handled game three and four efficiently.
“I thought Anoka-Ramsey provided every challenge we needed,” Sussenguth said. “They were aggressive behind the service line and attacked very hard. We found ourselves sitting back on our heels physically and emotionally. A-R made us recognize that we have to be assertive communicators and have to invest in every point, within every situation we face.”
Saturday’s match against Rochester also will establish the top seed for the region tournament, the field for which will also include Minnesota State-Fergus Falls and St. Cloud Technical College.
“We’ll enjoy what we’ve accomplished, but no question we need to polish some things before Saturday’s match,” Sussenguth said.
Ridgewater 3, Anoka-Ramsey 1
Anoka-Ram. (6-8, 11-16) 18 25 14 16
Ridgewater (13-1, 19-8) 25 18 25 25
Statistics not available
Serving: Jen Puncochar 1 ace, Alix Katz 1, Morgan Meyer 4, Tiffani Karbo 1, Hailey Osland 6 … Set assists: Karbo 34 … Hitting: Puncochar 25-27-10, Meyer 14-17-8, Karbo 14-15-5, 11-11-2, Tegan VanMoer 28-35-11, 15-16-5 … Blocking (total): Meyer 1, Karbo 1, Amy Bolin 1, Tracy Braaten 1 … Digs (5 or more): Puncochar 13, Sharpe 19, Meyer 10, Karbo 9, Osland 8, VanMoer 5