Maple Lake vs.

St. Cloud Cathedral

7:15 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4

In a possible preview of the Class 2A, Section 6 final, two-time defending state champion Maple Lake heads to St. Cloud Cathedral for a matchup that pits a rebuilding program with pedigree against veteran experience.

The Irish (3-2) graduated 10 seniors, and this year’s squad, which has nine total upperclassmen, split its four matches at the Aug. 24 Albany Invitational, with wins over New London-Spicer (2-0) and Watertown-Mayer (2-1), and losses to Sauk Centre (2-0) and Morris Area (2-1).

As Maple Lake develops players into new or expanded roles, it will lean on senior outside hitter Brielle Paumen, and junior middle hitter Katie Goelz to keep the team in the winning column.

Maple Lake won last year's regular-season meeting against the Crusaders 3-1. The teams didn’t play each other in sections, as St. Cloud Cathedral lost to Rocori 3-1 in the section semifinals, while Maple Lake went on to defeat Rocori 3-1 on its way to a second straight state title and an undefeated season.

The Crusaders (4-0) boast an undefeated record after winning the Royalton tournament on Aug. 24, which culminated in a 2-0 win against Pillager.

St. Cloud Cathedral returns 10 letterwinners from last year's team, including third-year starter Gabby Heying who had 320 kills last year. Fellow seniors Hallie Hupf and Meg Januschka give the Crusaders a formidable front line, which will challenge an Irish team determined to return to the state tournament in our Top Game of the Week.