PREP VOLLEYBALL: Panthers take care of Marshall in three sets

Photo by Emily Daniels Members of the Tracy-Milory-Balaton volleyball team celebrate after scoring a point during their match against Marshall on Thursday. The Panthers defeated the Tigers 3-0.

MARSHALL – In a battle of top teams, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers took on the Marshall Tigers on Thursday night. The Panthers prevailed, sweeping the Tigers in a quick three set match (26-24, 25-21, 25-20) and leaving Marshall with a loss in their last home game of the season.

Both teams started set one off with a fast tie at 4-4. The Panthers found an opportunity and took it to build the lead shortly after the tie at 11-7. The lead from TMB didn’t stop the Tigers from playing strong, as MHS came from behind to tie the score back up at 11-11. The Panthers showed strong offense, pulling away from Marshall for a short time but the Tigers come back again to tie the score at 17-17. TMB put up a tough fight after falling behind to the Tigers for a few points, and coming out victorious in the first set, 26-24.

The Tigers started the second set off to a good start with a small lead against the Panthers, 5-3. TMB used their strengths on offense and defense to slowly gain on Marshall. The Panthers showed their true colors pulling ahead from the Tigers, 14-11. Marshall found themselves playing catch up on the Panthers, but TMB responded to the Tigers come back by holding the lead the rest of the set to come out with their second win of the night at 25-21.

TMB came into Set 3 ready to win, starting the set off to a fast 3-3 tie. The Panthers found their time to shine early on in Set 3 to hold a strong lead against the Tigers, 11-5, and never looked back after gaining that lead. Marshall saw a lot of strong serves from the Panthers in this set and found themselves playing strong defense. The Panthers used their strengths on offense to keep scoring points gaining a bigger lead at 23-19 and keeping their defense strong holding Marshall to 20 points. With TMB just two points away from sweeping the Tigers, they continued to play aggressively to come out with the win in Set 3, 25-20.

Marshall will play No. 8 seeded New Ulm next Friday in the first round of the Section 3AA Tournament at Marshall High School, while the TMB Panthers will play the winner of the Adrian and Edgerton match next Friday at Tracy High School. Both the Tigers and the Panthers are the No. 1 seeds in their respective south section, and hoping to advance to the MSHSL State Tournament held at the Xcel Energy Center in early November.

Coming off a win tonight, TMB’s head coach Rick Haberman takes this hard fought win against the Tigers as a big step in the right direction going into the section tournament next week.

“We knew going into the game tonight against Marshall that it was going to be tough. Whether we won or lost the match we knew we had to be ready to play. Playing Marshall always makes us better and stronger and we can use that going forward,” said Haberman.