Mayer Lutheran vs. Waconia
7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 29

Mayer Lutheran tipped off its defensive of a Class 1A state championship by sweeping New Prague last Thursday. The No. 1 Crusaders (1-0) are the favorite to repeat, as coach Joelle Grimsley returns nearly every key player from last year, such as seniors Madison Hucky and Sophia Heuer, both all-state choices last fall.

Both had more than 250 kills last year (and Hucky added 655 set assists as the team’s primary setter), but neither led the team in that category. That honor went to senior Madi Beck, who had 311 kills and is back for another shot at a state title. Senior libero Mya Chmielewski also is one of the key returning Crusaders.

Waconia (1-1) has already played a pair of five-set marathons, beating Moorhead last Friday night and losing to Osseo at the Breakdown Sports Side Out Classic on Saturday -- a heartbreaking defeat that came after the Wildcats won the first two sets, but couldn’t land the knockout punch to the Orioles.

Mayer Lutheran will be just as tough a test. Waconia sophomore hitters Ellie Dammann and Kali Wolf are developing into superstar players and give the Wildcats great height, as both are 6-foot-plus.