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Wayzata wins Section 5 championship to return to state tournament for the first time in 9 years

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 10/31/19, 8:15PM CDT


The Trojans, who defeated St. Michael-Albertville in three sets, will make their first trip to Xcel Energy Center since 2010.

Wayzata's Elizabeth Helmich (5) blocked a hit by St. Michael-Albertville's Samantha Palmer (5) in the first set. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky • aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

One year after getting a whiff of a championship, Wayzata took the next step Thursday, defeating St. Michael-Albertville in straight sets 25-19, 28-26, 25-13 to win the Class 3A, Section 5 volleyball championship at Osseo High School.

Senior Kate Long had 14 kills to lead a relentless Trojan attack that includes a physically imposing group of dynamic hitters and staunch blockers in Elizabeth Helmich, Sophie Jesewitz, Lily Emlong and and Katelyn Empkey. Of that group, only Long stands under 6-2.

“We do have a lot of physicality to this team,” Wayzata coach Scott Jackson said. “They’ve worked really hard at the skills of volleyball, but we’re also really blessed as great athletes.”

Helmich, a senior outside hitter who will play at James Madison University next year, said having so many talented players is a key to their success.

“It keeps teams on their feet,” she said. “No one knows where we’re going because we’ve got big guns everywhere.”

Wayzata won a back-and-forth first set, but it was an exceptional second set that titlted the match in the Trojans’ favor. They kept up a consistent attack, never backing away despite exceptional defense played by St. Michael-Albertville.

First report

Wayzata defeated St. Michael-Albertville 25-19, 28-26, 25-13 to win the Class 3A. Section 5 title on Thursday at Osseo High School.

Kate Long had 14 kills for the Trojans, who defeated their Lake Conference rival for the third time this season.

Wayzata advances to the Class 3A state tournament for the first time since 2010.

Check back later for more on the match.

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