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If Thursday’s sweep of Mora was a warm-up for Marshall, the defending state champions got a much sterner test Friday in its Class 2A seminfinal match with Belle Plaine.

Marshall defeated Belle Plaine in four games to advance to the state championship for the fifth time in six years, but the tourney’s top seeded needed its best to do it.

“It was definitely a test,” Marshall junior Kenzie Beekman said. “I thought we played really well. They’re a good team.”

Beekman led her team with 27 kills. Fellow junior Sidney Griffin had 14 kills and 20 assists.

Both sported white-and-black uniforms, the same team nickname and even the same chants from their student sections. It seemed the only way for a casual fan to tell the teams apart might have been the scoreboard.

But even that was a bit tricky much of the night.

After letting the first game slip out of reach, Belle Plaine had three opportunities to serve for the win in Game 2. Each time, Marshall came up with a big play.

Eventually, Marshall took the game 27-25 on a block by junior Sydney Griffin.

Belle Plaine won the third game 25-18, but couldn’t keep up in the Game 4, as Marshall closet out the match with a 25-20 win.

“Those are the fun the matches to play, where it’s back-and-forth like that,” Beekman said. “We got a good test … and we liked that.”

Senior Haley Fogarty led Belle Plaine with 19 kills.

BRYCE EVANS

 

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