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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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
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
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