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Second-seeded Wayzata sweeps past North St. Paul

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 11/08/19, 12:30PM CST


The victory sets up a showdown for the Class 3A championship with No. 1 seed Eagan.

Wayzata outside hitter Kate Long (8) flew toward the net for a hit against North St. Paul. Photo: Shari L. Gross ¥ shari.gross@startribune.com

If Wayzata’s 25-16, 25-22, 27-25 victory over North St. Paul in the Class 3A semifinals proved anything, it’s that if all other things are equal, talent always wins out.

The No. 2-seed Trojans are as long and tall and capable as any team in the tournament. It showed in how they just kept pounding away at North St. Paul’s defense until the Polars cracked.

With five strong hitters who range in height from 5-11 Kate Long to the 6-4 trio of Lily Emlong, Katelyn Empkey and Sophie Jesewitz, the Trojans have an intimidating presence.

“We haven’t played a team this year that’s been that big all around,” North St. Paul coach Stephanie Blanda said.

North St. Paul has talent, too, but the shorter Polars have relied largely on energy and enthusiasm to push them along. It was obvious again Friday, but they acknowledged that it was hard to maintain against the imposing Trojans.

“It feels a little intimidating when your front like is just over 5 feet and theirs is over 6-feet,” North St. Paul hitter Lauren Stenman said. “It feels like they’re taking a lot from you.”

First report

Wayzata continued its strong state tournament play with a 25-16, 25-22, 27-25 victory over North St. Paul on Friday in a Class 3A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.

The Trojans (30-3) trailed 24-18 in the third set, but reeled off six straight points to tie and closed out the set and the match.

The unseeded Polars (24-6) had defeated No. 3 seed Lakeville North in the quarterfinals.

Check back later for more on the game.

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