Lauren Clark (1) of Champlin Park celebrates with teammates after defeating Lakeville South. Photo: LEILA NAVIDI ¥ firstname.lastname@example.org
For a team that lost just five sets all season before its Class 3A semifinal match Friday, it was another lost set that lit a spark of confidence for Champlin Park coach John Yunker.
The Rebels fell 27-25 in their first set to Lakeville South, but Yunker saw a lot to like in his team during that set.
“They came at us and we needed to respond,” Yunker said. “We needed to be the team we’ve been all season. I’m extremely proud of how they responded.”
The No. 2-seeded Rebels dug in and showed why they’re considered among the state’s elite teams, posting three consecutive set victories to advance to the Class 3A championship match Saturday with a 25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 victory.
The victory sets up a title rematch with Eagan, which defeated the Rebels in 2016.
“Champlin Park is an incredible team,” Lakeville South coach Stephen Willingham said. “They’re really balanced, they handle the ball well, they’re a solid blocking team. We had a game plan coming in that we were able to execute for stretches, but we weren’t able to keep it together.”
Champlin Park defeated Lakeville South 25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 victory to move into the championship match Saturday against Eagan, a rematch of the 2016 final.
The deep and talented Rebels leaned on a different hitter in nearly every set – Emma Schimdt, Jordan Stalpes, Lauren Clark – with its varied attack expertly coordinated by setter Izzy Ashburn.
Check back later for more on the match.