With a win and a loss on Saturday, the Marshall Tiger volleyball team took 11th place at the Apple Valley Eagle Invite.
After falling to Class AAA top-ranked Lakeville North on Friday night, the Tigers were again bested by a bigger school on Saturday.
Eighth-ranked Waconia swept the Tigers 2-0 to pick up its second win over Marshall this season.
Waconia stormed out to an early 6-1 lead during the first set and cruised to a 25-18 win. The Tigers never broke that five-point barrier for the rest of the set.
"They really had us on our heels from start to finish in that first set," Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. "They played with a lot of energy and we never really responded at all."
The Tigers bounced back in the second set, establishing leads of 15-11 and 23-19, but never managed to put the Wildcats to rest. Waconia clawed back and scored six straight points to take the second set 25-23.
"The way the second set ended was certainly a disappointment," Westby said. "We just stopped making plays. Waconia is a good team and they're not going to give you anything. You're going to have to earn everything when you face them."
The loss was only Marshall's fourth on the season (11-4 overall, 2-0 Southwest Conference). Class AA's top-ranked team rebounded from the loss with a 2-0 win over Moorhead to close out the tournament.
Marshall pounced on the Spuds in the opening set, taking an early 9-3 lead en route to a 25-17 win. The Tigers continued to put the heat on Moorhead in the second set, especially from the service line. Four Tigers recorded ace serves in the final set, which Marshall won 25-11.
"Our kids were aggressive from the service line," Westby said. "They really did a good job of keeping Moorhead off balance."
Sydney Griffin was the top server for the Tigers on Sunday, going 16-for-16 with two aces over the two matches. She also had 22 set assists on the day and six ace blocks, including four against the Spuds. Kenzie Beekman led the Tigers with 19 kills over the four sets played on Saturday. Beekman and libero Hannah Bennett each had 19 digs on Saturday, as well.
The 2-2 finish at the Eagle Invite was not the worst conceivable result, but in their two losses the Tigers missed out on a chance to avenge an earlier loss on the season to Waconia and a chance for a statement win over Lakeville North (the No. 10 team in the nation).
"We did some good things in our four matches," Westby said. "We really need to get better at raising our level of play at the end of sets. In both the Lakeville North and Waconia matches we had opportunities to win sets and we didn't get it done. They're a couple of the best teams in the state and they're the kind of teams we want to be playing. We need to look forward to playing teams like that."
With the Eagle Invite in its rearview mirror, Marshall now gets to look forward to a match against MACCRAY tonight at Marshall High School before a Southwest Conference showdown with the Worthington Trojans on Thursday.
Serving (good-att-ace): Sydney Griffin 7-7-1, Angela Tauer 10-11-1.
Kills: Kenzie Beekman 9, Griffin 6.
Digs: Hannah Bennett 11, Beekman 8, Steph Baker 6.
Set Assists: Griffin 9, Rachel Sanow 7.
Blocks: Callie Graff 3, Griffin 2, Emma Doyle 2.
Serving (good-att-ace): Sydney Griffin 9-9-1, Maci Louwagie 8-9-2, Hannah Bennett 8-8-1.
Kills: Kenzie Beekman 10, Griffin 6.
Digs: Beekman 11, Bennett 8, Rachel Sanow 6.
Set Assists: Grffin 13, Sanow 7.
Blocks: Grffin 4, Emma Doyle 1, Beekman 1, Louwagie 1.