Mounds Park Academy outside hitter Lola Pilon (11) and Fosston middle hitter Brianna Vig (5) battled at the net. Photo: Shari L. Gross ¥ firstname.lastname@example.org
Fosston hadn’t been to the state tournament since winning the Class 1A championship in 2004. Mounds Park Academy? Well, the Panthers had never been before.
Such tournament inexperience often results in a lopsided match. Instead, the two teams battled back-and-forth in what turned out to be the most competitive Class 1A match of the day, with Fosston pulling out a 22-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-17, 15-9 victory.
Fosston coach Sarah Dryburgh said her team’s resilience — it twice trailed by a set — sparked the victory.
“I’m really impressed and proud of the girls,” she said. “Sometimes in a game, things aren’t going your way. You’ve got to keep fighting and make them go your way.”
Minneota's Morgan Hennen (10, left) and Abby Rost (6) defended the net as Greenway's Hallie Shevich (2) went up for a hit. Photo: Shari L. Gross ¥ email@example.com
Top-seeded Minneota continued its quest for a second consecutive state title – and third overall – with a comfortable 25-22, 25-15, 25-19 victory over Greenway.
Abby Hennen had 18 kills and Natalie Rolbiecki added 17 for the Vikings. Setter McKenna Yost had 32 set assists.
Despite 12 previous state tournament appearances, Minneota coach Hayley Fruin said her team battled nerves in the first set.
“Our nerves kind of got the best of us,” Fruin said. “But after that first set, we changed a few things and settled down.”
Kiley Nihart (1) of Medford kept her eyes on the ball. Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year Medford came in unseeded and ended up as the Class 1A runner-up. Back for its second state trip, some nerves still snuck out at the start of its match Thursday, losing five of the first six points against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
“Coming back, it’s still a lot of pressure coming in,” coach Missy Underdahl said.
That pressure quickly subsided as the No. 3-seeded Tigers (25-8) coasted to a 25-22, 25-18, 25-10 quarterfinal victory. The Tigers won three consecutive points early to get back in the match, with a kill from junior Kinsey Cronin and then two kills from senior Emma Kniefel.
Allison Rients (7) of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown made a play on the ball in the match against Henning. Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ ¥ email@example.com
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown talked about wanting to be the best defensive team in the state, coach Crystal Lamont said.
“And that’s the mindset we have,” Lamont said. “Nothin’s going to score on us, and we’re going to do our best to make it as hard as possible for the other team to get a point.”
The game plan seemed to work out Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. The No. 2-seeded Buccaneers swept Henning 25-11, 25-21, 25-18 in the Class 1A quarterfinals. The Buccaneers (33-2) had just one error in the first set, good enough for a .448 hitting percentage.