Lakeville North and Bethlehem Academy concluded the 2012 volleyball season as two of the three No. 1 volleyball teams in the state. The Panthers were tops in Class 3A and Bethlehem Academy in Class 1A.
They both opened the 2013 season the same way, as the top-ranked team in their class. That’s what made their season-opening matchup intriguing, especially in the loud and toasty confines of the Bethlehem Academy gymnasium.
“The match was filled with a good deal of drama, but only some of it was totally related to volleyball,” Lakeville North coach Walt Weaver said. “The Bethlehem Academy gym is not air-conditioned, and although they had industrial fans running it was still 104 degrees in the gym. Their bleachers were filled with a lot of human fans and the noise from the band and spectators made concentrating also difficult.”
Lakeville North prevailed in three games, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21. The Panthers are ranked No. 17 in the country by prepvolleyball.com.
“Bethlehem Academy put a lot of pressure on us in every game with tough serving, strong defense and a varied attack,” Weaver said. “Though the scores remained close in every game, we were often behind, and fortunately were able to come up with enough offense and defense at the ends of games to win.”
The Panthers’ top returnees are senior hitters Alyssa Goehner and Sami Flattum, senior libero Abby Monson and junior hitter Janae Neuenschwander.
“With the degree of heat and noise in the gym, it was a night that certainly tested the patience of our team,” Weaver said. “Under these circumstances we were proud of our team’s composure and resilience.”
Sabres to add lacrosse
Shakopee became the latest school to add boys’ and girls’ lacrosse to its athletic department. The school board unanimously approved adding the two teams at the end of August.
The Sabres picked an opportune time to make the jump from a club team. They will play in the Missota Conference this spring before joining the South Suburban Conference for 2014-15 school year.
Northfield also added lacrosse for the current school year. The other Missota Conference schools that have lacrosse are Holy Angels and Farmington. Chaska and Chanhassen form one team through a co-op.
All of the South Suburban Conference schools offer lacrosse.
• Burnsville’s volleyball team opened it season with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-22 nonconference victory over Cretin-Derham Hall. Seniors Lauren Randall (13) and Alyssa Muelken (12) combined for 25 kills.
• Junior forward Kaija Ornes had two goals and one assist, helping Prior Lake’s girls soccer team win its own Katie Drentlaw Invitational. The Lakers defeated Blaine 3-1 in overtime before shutting out Farmington 2-0 for the title. Ornes scored the winning goal against Blaine.
Ron Haggstrom • 612-673-4498