Fergus Falls' Brianna Rasmusson celebrated scoring a point against Belle Plaine during a Class 2A quarterfinal match Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Photo: Kyndell Harkness * firstname.lastname@example.org
Fergus Falls senior Brianna Rasmusson couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear Thursday.
The setter had just finished touching off a wild celebration, leading the Otters to the most monumental victory in school history. Fergus Falls outlasted Belle Plaine 26-28, 25-19, 25-13, 19-25, 15-9 in an intense quarterfinal matchup in the Class 2A volleyball state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
“This is [a] great win for our volleyball program,” Rasmusson said of Fergus Falls (26-6), making its first state tournament appearance. “We played with a lot of energy and intensity.”
The 5-11 Rasmusson finished off Belle Plaine with a kill in the fifth game. She had three kills, two blocks and one set assist in that game.
“I’m just happy we were able to come out and win the fifth game after losing the fourth,” Rasmusson said. “The atmosphere in the building was great.”
Belle Plaine (25-9) stayed alive with a six-point victory in the fourth game. Senior middle hitter Amara Meyer had four of her 11 kills and three blocks in the victory. Freshman Mariena Hayden paced the Tigers with 23 kills.
Fergus Falls battled back to take a 2-1 lead in the match after dropping the opening game. Senior outside hitter Laura Gaustad led the Otters with 18 kills while Rasmusson finished with 15.
“Both teams had their highs and lows,” Rasmusson said. “It was a roller-coaster ride.”
Marshall's Kenzie Beekman dug out a serve during her team's Class 2A quarterfinal match against Mora at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Photo: Kyndell Harkness * email@example.com
The Tigers usually live up to their No. 1 ranking. They looked primed for a three-peat against the Mustangs.
Two-time defending state champion Marshall (30-3) rolled over Mora in straight sets 25-7, 25-7, 25-18 in less than an hour. The Tigers were also the state champion in 2004, 2007 and 2009.
Senior outside hitter Kenzie Beekman had 22 of the Tigers’ 43 kills. She has 497 on the season.
It’s the second consecutive year Mora (27-5) has lost to Marshall in the quarterfinals. It lost 25-11, 25-9, 25-10 a year ago
Hill-Murray's Rachel Kueppers spiked the ball past the Dassel-Cokato defense during the teams' Class 2A quarterfinal match Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Photo: Kyndell Harkness * firstname.lastname@example.org
Pioneers senior middle hitter Lauren Simonson was so ecstatic she decided to roll around on the court, and it was only the second game.
The Pioneers staged a late rally to win that game en route to a 25-23, 26-24, 21-25, 25-22 victory over Dassel-Cokato (27-4). It’s the first state tournament appearance for both schools.
Senior outside hitter Rachel Kueppers had 19 kills for Hill-Murray (28-4). Senior setter Kennedy Fabian and Simonson added 13 and 10, respectively.
Kasson-Mantorville players celebrated after scoring a point against Maple Lake during a Class 2A quarterfinal match Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Photo: Kyndell Harkness * email@example.com
The second-seeded KoMets followed Marshall’s lead, polishing off the Irish in orderly fashion.
Kasson-Mantorville (29-5) continued the stellar play of Section 1 in state tournament play with a 25-20, 25-17, 25-21 triumph over Maple Lake (24-9).
Section 1 has been the runner-up to Marshall each of the previous two years — Caledonia in 2012 and Stewartville in 2011.
Seniors Brooklyn Lewis and Hailey Busch combined for 30 kills for the KoMets.