Brief slump costs MACCRAY in sub-section final
MARSHALL— A bad second set was too much for MACCRAY to overcome, as the Wolverines fell 3-1 to Minneota in the final round of the 3A Subsection North Thursday night.
The Vikings, the tournament's top seed and the fourth-ranked team in Class A, put together 25-11, 25-22 and 25-15 wins after dropping the opening set 25-21.
The Wolverines looked sharp early, leading for a good portion of the way and clinching the first set behind a pair of Sydney Schwitters kills.
But things turned the Vikings' way in the second set, as dominant net play by Lydia Sussner, who finished with 26 kills, keyed an 11-point Minneota win.
The third set proved to be the most competitive of the night, as each team went on an early 6-1 run.
With the game tied at 19, Minneota took the lead back for good, behind an Amber Engels ace and kills by Natalie Herigon and Synden Larson.
MACCRAY eventually cut the deficit back to one at 23-22, before Sussner came through with another kill to help ice the match, and set the tone for a relatively easy win in the fourth set.
Though she anticipated a strong effort, Wolverine Coach Terese Bourne said she and her staff "had never seen that Lydia Sussner before" and that all attempts at containing her were unsuccessful.
"We tried different things," Bourne said. "We tried to double up on her, we tried adjusting our defense to pick up what she was throwing at us, but we just struggled with it."
The loss ends a strong season for the Wolverines, who finished with a record of 25-6.
There's no reason to believe this will be the team's last chance at a deep postseason run, as the entire starting lineup returns next season.
Though not looking fully ahead, Bourne admits she's very excited about what this group could do with another full year of experience under its belt.
"It's never quite the same," she said. "We are losing two seniors and along with every season comes a few changes, but what we do have coming back for next year is very promising."
Minneota 3, MACCRAY 1
MACCRAY............................ 25 11 22 15
Minneota.............................. 21 25 25 25
Serving (aces): Sydney Schwitters 2, Danni Burns 1, Ellie Hultgren 1 ... Set assists: Sydney Schwitters 40 ... Hitting (kills): Schwitters 3, Thein 14, Burns 6, Carly Orwick 2, Olivia Ruiter 4, Piper Asche 14 ... Blocking (aces): Schwitters 1 ... Digs (5 or more): Thein 38, Schwitters 16, Orwick 17, Listerud 17, Hultgren 17, Burns 12
Stats not provided
Kimball 3, KMS 1
KMS won the first set and scored in the 20s in the other three sets but couldn't hold off top-seed Kimball in the Section 5A-West final on Thursday in Little Falls.
Tori Everson had a big night for the Saints, finishing with 14 kills, two solo blocks and 19 digs. Molly Jeppesen had 10 kills and also had two blocks.
Sam Gjerde had 33 set assists, seven hills and eight digs and Lexi Lamecker had six kills and six digs. Katie Krieger served two aces and led the team with 20 digs.
KMS............................ 25 21 21 25
Kimball.............................. 20 25 25 27
Serving (aces): Katie Krieger 2, Alex Walsh 1, Sam Gjerde 1 ... Set assists: Gjerde 33 ... Hitting (kills): Walsh 3, Lexi Lamecker 6, Molly Jeppesen 10, Gjerde 7, Tori Everson 14, Haylee Johnson 2 ... Blocking (aces): Walsh 1, Jeppsesen 2, Everson 2 ... Digs (5 or more): Krieger 20, Walsh 8, Lamecker 6, Jeppesen 5, Gjerde 8, Everson 19, Hallie Nichols 10
Stats not provided