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A blowout first set victory felt right to Sauk Centre. The Mainstreeters entered the Class 2A state tournament as the only undefeated team in all three classes and they played nearly perfect in a 25-4 opener against St. Croix Lutheran.

Then the magnitude of the state tournament set in on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center. Sauk Centre coach Jim Klaphake called the first set a fluke after St. Croix Lutheran responded with a 25-22 win in the second set.

“Coach reminded us this is not a cakewalk,” said senior middle hitter Macy Weller, who finished with 33 kills. “That was a rude awakening for the rest of the tournament.”

The awakening worked, rallying the Mainstreeters to finish off the Crusaders in the next two sets for a 25-4, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18 victory.

Sauk Centre setter Jena Klaphake dished out 48 assists and had 12 digs. St. Croix Lutheran was led by Afton Sobasky’s 14 kills, 11 assists, 21 digs and Kira Grev’s 11 kills and 18 digs.

JASON GONZALEZ

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