Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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ALEXANDRIA -- The Willmar volleyball team rebounded from two bad sets to send the Section 8AAA championship match to a deciding fifth game, but Moorhead prevailed to win the section crown for a second-straight year on Saturday at Alexandria High School. The Spuds won 25-18, 25-10, 20-25, 21-25 and 15-6. Moorhead opens the Class AAA state tournament on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Seeds and pairings will be announced Sunday. Willmar finished the season 25-5. See this web site and Monday's Tribune print edition for more on the match.
MARSHALL -- Minneota started slowly but got its game together by halftime and the Vikings rolled to a 35-22 win over BOLD in the Section 5A championship game at Southwest Minnesota State on Friday. Minneota, now 11-0, opens Class A state tournament play Nov. 11 at Alexandria High School. BOLD finished the season 10-1 and for a second-straight year suffered its only loss in the section finals. Minneota committed two turnovers and punted on its first three possessions, and two Austin Einerson touchdowns had BOLD up 14-0.
WILLMAR — Winning wasn't going to be the question for the Ridgewater volleyball team on Wednesday in its MCAC matchup with Anoka-Ramsey. How the Warriors played would be, and they answered it to head coach Joe Sussenguth's liking. Ridgewater hit .413 with just six hitting errors in 75 attacks and throttled the winless Rams 25-8, 25-11 and 25-11 to remain atop the Southern Division standings with just two matches to play.
SARTELL — Willmar tennis player Cayle Hovland won two of three matches in the Section 8AA individual tournament on Saturday to advance to the Class AA state tournament on Oct. 24-27. Hovland won her semifinals match, lost in the championship match but rebounded with a win in a True Second match to earn her state tournament berth. The Class AA tournament is at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Club. Litchfield plays The Blake School in the Class A team tournament on Oct. 24 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
SARTELL—The Litchfield tennis team left no doubt about its supremacy in Section 5A. The top-seeded Dragons thumped No. 2 seed Annandale 6-1 in the section championship match on Tuesday at the Sta Fit Club. The Dragons took out New London-Spicer by an identical score in the section semifinals on Tuesday at Sta Fit. Litchfield takes a 21-0 record into the Class A state tournament, which begins Oct. 24 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
ALEXANDRIA — The Willmar girls placed first and the Cardinals boys team place eighth in a competitive cross country field at the Alexandria Invitational on Saturday. The girls team scored 58 points to outdistance second-place Marshall. The Stillwater boys team placed first with 70 points. The Card boys scored 231. Willmar's Heidi Schmitz placed second, about nine seconds behind winner Bergan Haag of Roseville. Leah Hansen placed fifth. Hudeife Mire was the Cardinals' top boys finisher in 18th place. Alexandria Invite
SARTELL - Willmar singles player Cayle Hovland reached the semifinals at the South Sub-Section 8AA Individual Tournament on Friday at Sta Fit. Other Cards won first-round matches before falling in the quarterfinals. Hovland plays Foley's Peyton Kopel at 10 a.m. today in the semifinals. The championship and third-place matches are both set for noon. In the other semifinals match, No. 2-seed Brynn Sauer of Rocori takes on No. 3 seed Kate Inderieden of St. Cloud Tech at 10 a.m. today.
WILLMAR — Willmar placed first and third in two relays and Cardinals swimmers and divers won four individual events in a 94-92 Central Lakes Conference win over Rocori on Thursday at the Willmar High School pool. Moira Revier won two events, placing first in the 500 freestyle in 26.03 and she also placed first in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.35. Amanda Mathiasen won the 100 freestyle in 57.92 and she also placed second behind Revier in the 50 freestyle in 26.51. Erica Schramm scored 241.30 points to win diving and teammate Olivia Welsh scored 220.95 to place third.
ST. CLOUD — St. Cloud Technical rebounded from a near-disastrous loss in the third set to win the fourth and defeat Ridgewater 3-1 in an MCAC match on Wednesday. Ridgewater lost two tight sets to open the match but recovered to win the third 25-8. But St. Cloud righted its ship and closed out the match 25-18 in the fourth set. The Warriors lost for the first time in four MCAC matches and are 8-3 overall. SCT is 3-0 in the MCAC and 9-2 overall.
GREEN ISLE - The 2016 Class C state champion Raymond Rockets baseball team kicked off their title defense in grand style, thumping Mora 10-1 on Sunday in their opening game of the 2017 state tournament. Raymond's Kyle Knott homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and Justin Koenen had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs as the Rockets all but wrapped up the win with three runs in the top of the first inning. The Rockets added five runs in the fourth and two more in the seventh.