Southwest Christian vs. Watertown-Mayer

7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 5

Southwest Christian has proven it is among the best teams in the state, regardless of enrollment size or class.

The Stars — ranked No. 1 throughout the season in the Class 2A coaches' poll, including the one released on Oct. 3 — enter Tuesday's showdown with rival Watertown-Mayer on a 12-match winning streak. Southwest Christian (17-2, 3-0) has lost just twice this season, falling to No. 8-4A Lakeville North and No. 2-4A Eagan.

The list of opponents the Stars have beaten this year pretty much comprises a top-10 list of its own. They include: No. 3-4A Eden Prairie, No. 7-4A East Ridge, No. 3-3A Willmar, No. 4-3A Kasson-Mantorville, No. 7-3A Holy Angels, No. 2-2A Jackson County Central, No. 3-2A Cannon Falls and No. 1-1A Mayer Lutheran.

Seniors Jayna Bredenberg and Estelle Haugen and junior Annika Veurink lead Southwest Christian. Junior middle Mehlayna Straub and sophomore Luca Bredenberg add to the Stars' strong lineup.

The Stars won a Class 1A state championship in 2013 but haven't been back to the state tournament since. They have taken on all comers so far in 2021 and this could be the year they get back. 

Watertown-Mayer (18-4, 5-0) is another in the long line of ranked opponents for the Stars. The Royals begin the week ranked fourth in Class 2A, and the defending Section 5 champions are hoping to extend their streak of consecutive state tournament appearances to four this year. Watertown-Mayer was unbeaten in 12 matches last year before the season was canceled. 

Libby Burns (129 kills), Ashley Olson (118 kills, 57 blocks), Natalie Earnhart (344 assists, 38 service aces) and Kate Thibault (207 digs) lead the Royals.