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).
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.