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Denied a year ago, Minneota claims 1A championship

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 11/10/18, 2:45PM CST


The No. 1-seeded Vikings, who lost in the title match in 2017, defeated unseeded Medford in three sets.

Minneota's Morgan Kockelman (9), center, went down on her knees as her teammates leapt in the air celebrating their victory over Medford. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

On paper, Minneota’s 25-20, 25-14, 25-11 victory over Medford in the Class 1A championship match on Saturday had a ho-hum look to it.

After all, the No. 1-seeded Vikings were making their 12th state tournament appearance and playing in their sixth championship match since 2001.

Tiny Medford, halfway between Faribault and Owatonna along Interstate Hwy. 35, was unseeded, unheralded and somewhat unknown.

The result at Xcel Energy Center was predictable, even expected, but that didn’t make it any less impactful for either team.

Minneota coach Hayley Fruin, who played for the 2006 state championship team, had expressed a desire to see her team have the same experience she had.

First report

Minneota completed what it started a year ago, defeating Medford 25-20, 25-14, 25-11 win the Class 1A state championship Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.

The No. 1-seeded Vikings used 2017’s loss in the state finals as motivation for this season. Their championship game experience was evident from the outset as they took advantage of numerous Medford errors.

The unseeded Tigers, in their first state tournament appearance, had pulled off two upsets to reach the finals, defeating Mayer Lutheran and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa. But they couldn’t solve Minneota’s attack.

It’s the second state title in Minneota’s history. The Vikings won the 1A championship in 2006.

Check back later for more on the match.

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