MARSHALL - Dawson-Boyd didn't want its season to end in the semifinals of the Class A Volleyball Section 3 North Division Tournament on Tuesday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
The fourth-seeded Blackjacks (20-8-1 overall) rallied to score six of the last eight points in Set 3, but a pair of kills from Molly Hennen lifted top-seeded and Class A No. 1-ranked the Minneota Vikings (27-3) to 25-18, 25-19, 25-21 sweep of Dawson-Boyd.
"I knew that, if our setter, Megan Larson, set it to me, I had to kill it because (Dawson-Boyd) was getting fired up after having made a huge comeback to get back in that set," Hennen said after MHS turned a 23-15 margin in the final set into a four-point victory. "They were getting fired up and we were getting down on ourselves because we were not getting those last two points."
Photo by Jeff Arenz
Dawson-Boyd’s Justine Lee attacks the ball against the blocking attempt of Minneota’s Molly Hennen during a Class A Section 3 North Division Tournament semifinal match Tuesday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Hennen said the Blackjacks are a scrappy team that knows how to stay close in matches.
"They dig up a lot of balls that we're used to seeing other teams let go," Hennen said. "They are good at covering the court and, when we try to block them, they are good at keeping those balls alive."
Hennen said the Vikings were able to overcome Dawson-Boyd, which plays with an up-tempo style.
"The tempo they play with is a lot quicker than what we are used to seeing," Hennen said. "We're used to our opponents being much slower with their serves, a little volley and then a score, but that rally (at the end) really picked up the momentum."
Hennen and teammate Taylor Reiss finished with a match-high 16 kills. They combined to terminate 32 of Minneota's 41 kills. The Blackjacks, who produced 28 kills, were led by Justine Flattum (nine), Kelly Husby (seven) and Justine Lee (seven).
Vikings head coach Steph Hennen was relieved Minneota was able to secure a spot in the Class A Section 3 North Division Tournament title match against Central Minnesota Christian on Thursday at SMSU.
"We kept battling because we knew Dawson-Boyd was going to play good defense," Coach Hennen said. "We just had to keep swinging away and, eventually, teams get tired when they have to play defense all night. That is what pulled us through tonight."
The Bluejays defeated Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 25-18, 25-27, 25-15, 21-25, 15-13 in another semifinal match Tuesday.
Hennen complimented the Vikings for their focus late in the match.
"At this point in the season, teams are going to come at us with everything they have," Coach Hennen said. "It's win or go home from now on. We have to be ready."
The Blackjacks managed to post 60 digs against Minneota as Katarina Kuhlmann produced 16 digs to lead Dawson-Boyd. Justine Lee added 12 more, Kylie Schuelke had 11 and Andrea Lee recorded 10. The Vikings generated 98 digs with Reiss (21), Shelby Corbin (20), Molly Hennen (17) and Megan Larson (17) leading the way.
Blackjacks head coach Ashley Dahl said Dawson-Boyd fought until the end.
"At the end of the match, our girls played with heart and they did everything they could do," Dahl said.
Dahl said the Blackjacks' strategy was to keep attacking.
"We wanted to keep hitting the ball at Minneota's defense, putting pressure on them," Dahl said. "We also wanted to serve aggressively, to have a chance at getting a free ball and attacking them right from then start."
The Vikings, who missed only two serving attempts in the match, were 71 of 73 with seven aces at the service line. The Blackjacks countered with five aces.
MINNEOTA 3, DAWSON-BOYD 0
Minneota25 25 25
Dawson-Boyd18 19 21
SERVING - Minneota (MADE-ATTEMPTED-ACES) 71-73-7 (Megan Larson 18-18-2, Payton Boerboom 16-16-2, Taylor Reiss 12-12-2, Molly Hennen 9-9-1, Kalley Kloos 7-7-0, Shelby Corbin 9-11-0); Dawson-Boyd (ACES) 5 (Andrea Lee 2, Kylie Schuelke 1, Katarina Kuhlmann 1, Justine Flattum 1).
HITTING (KILLS-ERRORS-ATTEMPTS) - Minneota 41-17-114 (Taylor Reiss 16-2-29, Molly Hennen 16-5-49, Megan Larson 4-2-10, Shelby Corbin 2-6-13, Krista Maeyaert 3-1-8, Kelsey Maeyaert 0-1-5); Dawson-Boyd 28-20-125 (Justine Flattum 9-3-23, Kelly Husby 7-6-26, Justine Lee 7-4-44, Katarina Kulhmann 4-5-16, Nicole Jurgenson 1-1-8, Andrea Lee 0-1-5, Kaitlyn Willander 0-0-3).
DIGS - Minneota 98 (Taylor Reiss 21, Shelby Corbin 20, Molly Hennen 17, Megan Larson 17, Payton Boerboom 9, Krista Maeyaert 8, Amber Engles 4, Kalley Kloos 2); Dawson-Boyd 60 (Katarina Kulhmann 16, Justine Lee 12, Kylie Schuelke 11, Andrea Lee 10, Justine Flattum 6, Kelly Husby 4, Nicole Jurgenson 1).
SET ASSISTS - Minneota 35 (Megan Larson 35); Dawson-Boyd (Andrea Lee 14, Justine Flattum 13, Justine Lee 1).
BLOCKS - Minneota 6.0 (Megan Larson 3.0, Taylor Reiss 2.0, Krista Maeyaert 1.0); Dawson-Boyd 3.0 (Nicole Jurgenson 1.0, Kelly Husby 1.0, Katarina Kulhmann 0.5, Andrea Lee 0.5).