STATE CHAMPS BACK IN STATE TO DEFEND TITLE
The Minneota Vikings girls volleyball team took down Adrian easily Saturday night, 3-0 to win the Section 3A title and return to the Minnesota State Class A Tournament for the third year in a row.
They defeated Adrian 25-13; 25-10 and 25-17 to coast to the title to earn another trip to state.
Last year Minneota won the state crown. Now they are going back in an effort to defend their title.
Like a steamroller, Minneota ran over its fourth straight Section 3A opponent en route to paving a path to the state tournament in defense of its Class A state title.
The Vikings swept Adrian, the top seed in the south half, 25-13, 25-10, 25-14 on Saturday night at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
"I think we communicated well tonight," said Ellie Pesch, a junior libero who led a strong defensive effort by the Vikings.
"We really stuck together as a team and played aggressively. When we do that, we're hard to beat."
Minneota advances to the Class A state tournament beginning Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Against Adrian, Minneota faced an early 4-1 deficit in the first set, but erased that quickly with 7-0 run and never trailed in any set the rest of the match.
The Vikings utilized a balanced hitting attack, solid setting and an aggressive passing attack to sweep the Dragons.
The victory meant another state trip for seniors Morgan Hennen, Reese Gillund and Madison Sorensen.
"We really wanted to win this for the seniors. We wanted them get to state for their last year, said Anny Frie, who had one of her best hitting nights of the season.
Minneota has won 12 of the last 25 Section 3A Crowns and seven of the last 10. The three not won by Minneota were won by Tracy-Milroy-Balaton.
TEAMS IN THE STATE ARE:
4. Mounds Park Academy
MINNEOTA was ranked No. 1 and will play Greenway (26-4) in the first game at 1 p.m. Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The other paiings are: Mounds Park Academy vs Fosston; Medford vs Brooten-Belgrade-Elrosa and WEM vs. Henning.
Among the top matches were Waterville-Elisian-Morristown, the state's No. 2-ranked team. They beat Mayer Lutheran, the No. 1-ranked team. Minneota was ranked No. 3.
WEM won in five sets, taking the final set, 15-13.
Another big matchup was Greenway upsetting state-ranked Carllton. Greenway had received one vote all year but got into the state tournament
Medford held off state-ranked Mable-Canton, 3-2 to get back in the state. They finished second to Minneota last year.
State ranked teams knocked out and not making the state were: Mayer Lutheran, Mabel-Canton, Ada-Borup, Caledonia, Kittson County Central, Kenyon-Wanamingo and Lakeview.
The only state-ranked teams in state are WEM, Minneota and Medford.
Beat Canby for North section crown
On Thursday night, the Minneota Vikings Volleyball team topped Canby in three straight sets to take the Section 3A North title. Minneota will play Adrian on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at SMSU in Marshall. The winner of the match advances to the Class A state tournament.
Minneota won 3-0 by scores of 25-7; 25-11 and 25-17.
Minneota is the Class A defending state champion.
Minneota Coach Hayley Fruin praised Canby's front row players Maya Wente and Charlotte Wright, indicating Minneota was able to neutralize the two scorers and did the job.
The coach has been concerned about the team's serving and this time felt the Vikings were successful at the serving line this time around. Between Ellie Pesch, Abby Rost, Natalee Rolbiecki and Morgan Hennen they had just one errors out of 54 serves — and nine of those serves dropped for "ace" points without Canby being able to retrieve the serve.
We don't really think about (having a target on our backs)," said sophomore Natalee Rolbiecki, who had nine kills, 11 digs two ace serves. "We just try to play hard and be aggressive in each match."
At the net, the Vikings, using the serving mostly of McKenna Yost, went to Abby Hennen, their junior hitter-digger to smash 15 balls to the Canby side of the net for points. Abby Hennen also led the team with 15 digs as she was all over the court for the Vikings. Also at the net, sophomore Abby Frie had two blocks for points.
In the back row, Natalee Rolbiecki helped out with 11 more digs with McKenzie Tolk and Libero Ellie Pesch also pitching in.
Canby actually had a 7-6 lead in the second set, but Minneota fought back to take a 14-12 advantage and went on to a 25-17 win. That was the toughest it would get in the three matches.
Adrian was crowned the champion of the 3A South with a 3-2 win, taking the 15-point fifth game to put them into the section finals against Minneota.
Adrian lost the first two sets to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 25-22 and 27-7. Adrian came back to win 25-20 and 25-22 — then won the fifth match in a barn-burner, 16-14.
SERVING: (No. good, aces) Canby-P. Nelson 10-10; Wright 6-6; Hunt 5-5-1; Minneota-Ellie Pesch 13-13-2; Abby Rost 11-11-2; Natalee Rolbiecki 12-12-2; Morgan Hennen 18-17-3.
KILLS: Canby-B. Nelson, Wente 7; G. Harding 4; Minneota-A. Hennen 15; Rolbiecki 9; Morgan Hennen 8.
DIGS: Canby-Hunt 11; R. Harding 7; Rangaard 6; Minneota-A. Hennen 15; Rolbiecki 11; McKenzie Tolk, Pesch 6.
SET ASSISTS: Canby-P. Nelson 14; R. Harding 9; Minneota-Yost 29; Ireland Stassen 9.
BLOCKS: Canby-B. Nelson, Wente 1; Minneota-Abby Frie 2.