Jasmine Weidemann, left, celebrated with her Lakeville South teammates after a five-set victory over Lakeville North in the Class 3A, Section 1 volleyball championship game. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Lakeville South's Jasmine Mulvihill (8) led the Cougars with 25 kills and 22 digs. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Barely two miles separate the Lakeville South and Lakeville North high school buildings. Barely one foot separated the schools’ volleyball teams on Saturday.
And that foot belongs to Lakeville South’s sophomore setter, Jasmine Weidemann. It was her kick save of a kill attempt in the fifth and deciding set of the Class 3A, Section 1 championship at Rochester Civic Center that kept the ball in play, which allowed the Cougars to knock off the defending state champions 30-28, 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 18-16 in a hard-fought match in which the largest lead for either team was five points.
With the win, the Cougars (27-4) return to the state tournament for the second time in three years. Lakeville North (26-5), meanwhile, is denied the opportunity to defend its 2017 state championship or an opportunity at a ninth state tournament berth since Lakeville split into two schools in 2005.
The difference between Lakeville North and Lakeville South in the 2018 high school volleyball season had been indistinguishable until Saturday afternoon.
Turns out the difference was just a foot. Sophomore Jasmine Weidemann’s foot, to be exact.
Weidemann’s kick save on a Panthers’ kill attempt kept the ball in play, which led to the game-winning point in the Cougars’ 30-28, 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 18-16 win in the Class 3A, Section 1 championship in Rochester. The victory sends Lakeville South to the state tournament for the second time in three years, while ending a Panthers bid to repeat as state champions.
Before the section final, the teams had played to a virtual draw in the regular season. The Cougars won the first meeting 3-2 in September and the Panthers (26-5) won the second matchup 2-1 in tournament play on Oct. 13. The final tally in the two matches: Each team won one match, four sets and accumulated 162 points.
With a state tournament berth on the line, Jasmine Mulvihill led Lakeville South (27-4) with 25 kills and Weidemann had 57 assists. Elizabeth Juhnke had 24 kills and Amelia Wherland had 53 assists for Lakeville North.
Lakeville North's Elizabeth Juhnke (5) attempted to get a shot past a wall of Lakeville South defenders, including Carlee Gonzalez, Emily Torborg (6) and Ava Moes (7). Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
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