PREP VOLLEYBALL: Area teams wrap up at Southwest Challenge tournament
MARSHALL – Tens of schools and five area volleyball teams all converged on the hardwood courts, (and Sportcourts) of Southwest Minnesota State University and the Red Baron Arena and Expo over the weekend, with Marshall, Minneota, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton and Yellow Medicine East competing against some of the state’s best.
The Tigers kicked off their tournament play on Friday evening with a matchup against Owatonna. Marshall took the best 2 of 3 series winning by scores of 25-17 and 25-8. They then advanced to face Waconia, with Marshall winning by scores of 25-12, and 25-8 to advance to the championship bracket.
On Saturday, the Tigers squared off against Lakeville South. Marshall would fall to the Cougars by scores of 27-25, 26-28 and 15-7 before dropping another three-set match to Champlin Park (14-25, 25-9, 8-15). Marshall then wrapped up its tournament against River Falls, Wis., with the Tigers winning in two sets 25-14 and 25-17 to earn a seventh-place finish for a second straight year.
Logan Sherman led the way for the Tigers with 50 total kills in the tournament while Jordyn Hilgemann added 48, Bria Morris had 33 and Paige Andries chipped in 27.
Mia Schnaible led in digs with 102 total while Hilgemann added 45, Rachel Schwarz had 38 and Kate Bucher had 37. Schwarz led in set assists with 90 total while Sherman added 78.
Marshall coach Dan Westby said he felt his team competed hard and played well at times, but added they allowed teams to go on runs at pivotal moments of matches.
“Overall, I thought our kids competed hard; I thought we really had a well-played match against Waconia on Friday night but then we really came out slow on Saturday morning against Lakeville South,” Westby said. “One of the things we’ve talked a lot about is not letting teams go on runs against us and I thought that was the problem against Lakeville South. I thought we competed a little harder against Champlin Park, it was unfortunate that we didn’t get that win, but it was good to see us finish with a win here against River Falls.”
Marshall will face Jackson County Central on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. Westby said their biggest takeaway from the tournament is they need to not let their mistakes become a habit and just get out to stronger starts.
“We hope the fact that we didn’t maybe come out with our best effort against Lakeville South, that’s something that we don’t make that mistake again,” Westby said. “We learned from that and don’t let it happen again, we just can’t get off to a slow start like we did.”
The Vikings began tournament play on Friday with a matchup against Burnsville. Minneota won in two sets (25-11, 25-9) to advance to face St. Michael-Albertville, where the Vikings won by scores of 25-21, 25-22 to move on to the championship bracket.
On Saturday, the Vikings took on Northfield, with Minneota and the Raiders battling for a spot in the semifinal round. Northfield took the match in two sets (12-25, 20-25), sending Minneota to the consolation round.
The Vikings then faced River Falls, Wis., this time with the outcome being decided in three sets. This time, Minneota took the victory, winning by scores of 25-13, 14-25 and 15-12.
Minneota would wrap up its tournament with a matchup against Champlin Park, with Minneota sweeping the match in two sets (25-21, 25-22) to earn a fifth-place finish for a second straight year.
Natalee Rolbiecki led the way for the Vikings with 52 total kills in the tournament while Abby Hennen added 36 and Abby Frie had 27. Abby Hennen led in digs with 56 total while Morgan Hennen added 32 and Rolbiecki had 30. McKenna Yost led in set assists with 70 total while Ireland Stassen added 57.
Minneota coach Haley Fruin said some positives from the tournament was the play from their setters as well as their defensive play as the weekend went on.
“I thought our setters really improved throughout the day; we were kind of struggling at first just pushing pins but by the last match I thought we were actually connecting with all of our players,” Fruin said. “Defensively we really improved and I thought Abby Hennen and Natalee had a great tournament in the front row.”
Minneota will face MACCRAY on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
The Knights started their tournament play Friday with a matchup against Wayzata, with RTR falling in two sets (18-25, 14-25) before squaring off against BBE. The Knights won the matchup in two sets (25-13, 25-23) to advance to the 17th-24th place bracket.
On Saturday, RTR faced Eastview, winning in a close three sets (25-22, 18-25, 15-13) before defeating LeSueur-Henderson in three sets again (25-18, 23-25, 16-14) to advance to the 17th place match against New Prague. The Knights would fall to New Prague in two sets (25-12, 25-21) to earn an 18th place finish.
Haley Muenchow led the way for the Knights with 37 total kills while Kylea Baartman added 19 and Rylie Hess had 17. Kalleigh Carr led in digs with 62 total while Mckinley Schreurs added 36 and Maddi Wendland had 21. Schreurs led in set assists with 86 total.
Knights coach Daynica Brown said she was proud of how her team continued to fight and show grit against tough opponents and knows they can learn from those matches to utilize for the rest of the season.
“I think one of the biggest things I saw was playing the tough teams like Wayzata and the team just not folding against them when they got down. Seeing higher-caliber teams here, it helps our team pick up our game,” Brown said. “You have to cut around the blocks, our middle is having to hit against a triple block and she has to learn how to power through that and figure out where the spot is open. So playing high-caliber teams helps us tremendously to play a little more strategically so in the end we can play a better game.”
RTR will face Renville County West on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
The Panthers kicked off their tournament play on Friday with a matchup against Hutchinson, falling by scores of 25-8 and 25-11 before dropping to LeSueur-Henderson in three sets 15-25, 25-23, 8-15 to fall into the 25th-32nd place bracket.
On Saturday, the Panthers battled Owatonna, with TMB winning in three sets 20-25, 25-9 and 15-12 before falling to BBE in another three sets (25-20, 21-25, 10-15) to drop to the 27th place match. TMB then defeated Perham in two sets (25-13, 25-18) to earn a 27th place finish.
Jadyn Lessman led the way for the Panthers with 24 total kills in the tournament while Kylie Hensch and Catherine Wendland each added 23 kills. Margaret Dolan led in digs with 66 total while Kiarra Danielson added 28, Maddi Langerock had 26 and Olivia Peterson had 23. Langerock led in set assists with 95 total.
TMB coach Rick Haberman said the tournament is a good chance for them to learn about their team more and continue to grow and get better as the season continues.
“Overall, the tournament’s been a good experience for us,” Haberman said. “It’s fun to come here and know you get to play five matches in only two days, so it gives you a chance to learn about your team, but also you’re going to face five really good teams and that is how you find out even more about your team. It’s a really good chance for us to see some great competition, learn about ourselves and hopefully get better.”
TMB will face CMCS on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
The Sting started tournament play with a matchup against Champlin Park, with YME falling by scores of 25-8 and 25-7. YME then faced Eastview, falling by scores of 26-24 and 25-10 to drop into the 25th-32nd place bracket.
On Saturday, the Sting squared off with BBE, falling by scores of 25-14 and 25-15 to fall into the consolation round. YME then defeated Owatonna in three sets 25-10, 22-25, 15-11 before beating Fergus Falls in three sets (25-19, 15-25, 15-10) to earn a 29th place finish.
Alli Steffen led the way for the Sting with 27 total kills in the tournament while Shelby Mortenson added 19 and Madison Hinz and Yansi Flores each had 15.
Steffen led in digs with 42 total while Flores added 32 and Hinz had 30. Hinz also led in set assists with 69 total.
YME coach Alyssa Johnson said they felt they needed to make changes after their first few matches of the tournament and was pleased with how her team responded as the tournament went on.
“Based on Friday night and our first game on Saturday, we’ve just been talking about some of the changes we need to make and actually doing it and not just talking about it,” Johnson said. “I’m really proud of our girls with how they performed in the game against Owatonna. We actually made a lot of changes, served aggressively, picked it up on defense both with blocking and in the back row and we were just making some smart, aggressive plays, so I’m happy with how we’ve been improving the past couple of days.”
YME will face Dawson-Boyd on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. Johnson said their biggest takeaway from this tournament is moving on from their mistakes and continuing to communicate with each other and make the smart and aggressive play.
“We just know that we don’t have time to make the errors that we do and dwell on them, we have to move on. That’s one of our big ones and being supportive of one another and communicating with each other and making the smart, aggressive plays that we need to make as well,” Johnson said. “Serve-receive is something we’re continuing to work on; I felt like we started the season with a strong serve-receive and I feel like we’ve gone a little bit downhill but it’s definitely something we’re going to work on and hopefully we can get that back up to where it was.”