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Volleyball: BBE sets up for a semifinal showdown with Minneota

The Jaguars can stellar all-around team play and an error-free effort from setter Kylie Weller to beat Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 3-1 in the state Class A quarterfinals, setting up a semifinal match Friday with the top-seeded Vikings.

Senior Ava Mueller, 14, and the BBE volleyball team react after scoring a point in the fourth set of the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Senior Ava Mueller, 14, and the BBE volleyball team react after scoring a point in the fourth set of the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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ST. PAUL — When Dacia Szczesniak went down with an injury during the season, it opened up an opportunity for Kylie Weller.

Suddenly, Weller became the setter for Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s state-ranked volleyball team.

“It wasn’t her role at the beginning of the season,” BBE head coach Alanna Hunter said before Thursday’s state tournament. “But, Kylie’s very team-oriented and was willing to do anything she was asked to do.”

What she did Thursday was help BBE to a first-round victory at the state Class A tournament. The fifth-seeded Jaguars beat fourth-seeded Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 3-1 to advance to the state semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center.

BBE beat B/G-MR 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-14.

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BBE sophomore Kylie Weller puts a set up at the net during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
BBE sophomore Kylie Weller puts a set up at the net during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“Kylie has been huge for us,” BBE senior captain Allison Dingmann said. “So, we started out with a different setter at the beginning of the season. And then, she got injured. Kylie stepped up for us in a huge conference game and she did phenomenal.

“She’s just been gaining confidence all throughout the season. I just think that she’s what makes our team run. You can’t do anything without a setter, right? So our setter is huge and Kylie has been a big part of our success.”

BBE (26-6) plays mighty Minneota (32-3) in the state Class A semifinals Friday at the X. The top-seeded Vikings beat New Life Academy of Woodbury, 4-1. The scores were 25-13, 23-25, 25-13, 25-14.

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The Jaguars get a crack at the Vikings, who were state runner-ups last season, because of their depth of hitting, decent defense, proficient passing and consistent setting.

Weller had 57 set assists on a total of 131 attacks with zero errors. Cassidy Dahl, B/G-MR’s all-state senior setter, had 31 set assists with zero errors.

Weller was asked whether she saw herself starting at setter at the beginning of practice in August.

BBE senior Harley Roering keeps the ball alive with a dig during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
BBE senior Harley Roering keeps the ball alive with a dig during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“I mean I had hopes, but I didn’t know anything for sure,” Weller said.

When she heard the praise from her teammates, she smiled.

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“You seniors have helped me out a lot this year,” Weller said to Dingmann and Ava Mueller at Thursday’s post-match press conference. “They’re always good with communication and where sets need to be. It really helps boost my confidence.”

BBE head volleyball coach Alanna Hunter looks on during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
BBE head volleyball coach Alanna Hunter looks on during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The Jaguars got a confidence boost after a shaky first set. It’s when Mueller, Dingmann and company went to work with multiple attacks across the net. Mueller, the 6-foot outside hitter and all-stater, led the way with 22 kills and a .286 attack average. Brooklyn Fischer, a 5-9 junior, hammered home 18 kills from the middle. Abby Berge, a 5-10 senior, added 12 kills, many from the right side.

BBE senior Ava Mueller runs after the ball in the back row during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
BBE senior Ava Mueller runs after the ball in the back row during the Class A state quarterfinals against BGMR on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The varied attack made it hard for the Gators (30-3) to defend. And, B/G-MR head coach Stacy Dahl lamented her team’s many mistakes.

“I felt like our confidence wasn’t where it should be, because we’re a good team,” Dahl said.

The Gators play New LIfe Academy (21-12) at 1 p.m. Friday at the X in the consolation semifinals. The consolation championship is 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

“Make it count,” Cassidy Dahl said of what the message should be in the B/G-MR locker room. “We’ve got another one. Let’s push for two more (matches).”

BBE 3, B/G-MR 1

BBE (26-6)            22   25   25   25
B/G-MR (30-3)      25   20   21   14

BBE
Serving (aces): Harley Roering 1, Brooklyn Fischer 3, Abby Berge 1, Ava Mueller 1, Weller 2 … Set assists: Weller 57, Roering 1, Hagen 1 … Hitting (kills): Roering 1, Fischer 18, Hagen 4, Berge 12, Allison Dingmann 5, Mueller 22 … Blocking (aces, solo-assisted): Dingmann 1-3, Fischer 0-2, Hagen 0-3, Berge 0-2 … Digs (5 or more): Anna Jaeger 6, Roering 17, Fischer 28, Berge 20, Mueller 9, Weller 11

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B/G-MR
Serving (aces): McKenzie Dahl 1, Sierra Westberg 1, Cassidy Dahl 1 … Set assists: Dahl 31, Keyasha Housker 1, Dahl 2, Hannah Bergsnev 1, Westberg 2 … Hitting (kills): Jade Reese 13, Kinsley Hanson 9, Dahl 7, Riley Gust 7, Westberg 3, Dahl 5 … Blocking (aces, solo-assisted): Reese 1-5, Hanson 0-1, Gust 1-0, Westberg 0-3, Dahl 0-1 … Digs (5 or more): Reese 5, Housker 11, Zairyn Wimpfeimer 5, Hanson 12, Gust 8, Bergsnev 13, Westberg 5, Dahl 10

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