SAUK RAPIDS -- New London-Spicer topped Rocori 20-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-16 to win the Section 6AA-South volleyball title and give co-head coach Margaret Essler the 300th victory of her career Thursday.
The Wildcats (31-1) will face Sauk Centre for the Section 6AA championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Cloud State University. The Mainstreeters beat Melrose 25-22, 25-18, 25-20 in the 6AA-North final Thursday. NL-Spicer beat Sauk Centre 3-0 in the only meeting between the West Central North Conference rivals Sept. 22.
The win avenged last year's loss in the 6AA-South final to the Spartans.
Taylor Thompsen pounded down 17 kills in 42-of-49 attempts to lead NL-Spicer. She also added four ace blocks and 13 digs.
Cassie Ziemer added 11 kills, three ace blocks and three service aces, Justine Dammermann had 30 set assists and served three aces, Karli Wendlandt collected 17 digs, Karsee Knutson recorded three ace blocks and Jenna Moritz served three aces and had 12 digs.
Essler, in her 17th season as a head volleyball coach, is the fourth area coach to reach the 300-victory mark. Her co-coaching partner, Mimi Knutson, has 215 wins in 10 seasons, including eight at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, which won the Section 5A-South crown Thursday. The two have been co-coaches at NLS for the last two seasons.
Susan Alstrom of Buffalo Lake-Hector leads all area coaches with 532.
NL-Spicer 3, Rocori 1
Rocori 20 25 16 16
NLS 25 23 25 25
Statistics not available
Serving: Justine Dammermann 18-18-3, Taylor Thompsen 7-7-0, Cassie Ziemer 16-17-3, Karli Wendlandt 13-16-0, Jenna Moritz 16-18-3, Karsee Knutson 16-17-2 ... Setting: Dammermann 87-91-30, Knutson 20-20-7 ... Hitting: Dammermann 23-27-6, Thompsen 42-49-17, Ziemer 27-32-11, Wendlandt 27-32-7, Alanna Dietz 13-15-3, Knutson 14-17-6 ... Blocking (aces): Dammermann 1, Thompsen 4, Ziemer 3, Wendlandt 1, Dietz 1, Knutson 3 ... Digs: Dammermann 8, Thompsen 13, Ziemer 10, Wendlandt 17, Moritz 12, Hannah Setterberg 4, Dietz 6, Knutson 4