Section 3AA volleyball: Marshall Tigers are scary good
WINDOM —Momentum is everything in the sport of volleyball. Once you lose it, it is hard to regain.
Marshall (28-3) advances to Saturday’s section final at Southwest State University in Marshall against Morris Area/Chokio Alberta (19-5).
“We lost to them in conference and it was a close match. Closer than what tonight was,” JCC coach Teresa VanEpps said, recalling a sweep her team suffered to Marshall earlier this year.
The Tigers played on the attack in the first two sets this time around. JCC simply did not. An efficient attack for the Huskies was not potent enough to contest a Marshall front row that was paced by 29 kills from senior Kenzie Beekman.
“We weren’t getting them out of their system,” VanEpps said. “Marshall is a fabulous team. I feel they are probably the best team in the state.”
JCC settled into its game plan as the aggressor in the third set. The Huskies led by as many as four in the frame. JCC senior Kenna Bannister landed a kill to hand her team a 10-4 edge.
Marshall worked its way back to tie the set on multiple occasions but would never lead. A free ball from junior libero Kathryn Nasby and a block shared by Bannister and freshman Abby Benson were nails in the coffin that gave Marshall a Halloween scare.
“I wanted us to speed up our offense. It took us until the third set to finally do it,” VanEpps said. “When we went quickly, Marshall had a tough time defending that.”
JCC junior Rachel Johnson (8-for-8), sophomore Abby Brinkman (13-for-13) and Nasby (13-for-13) were each spotless servers for their club. Bannister had two aces. Benson turned in six blocks. Bannister and junior Sydney Eddy each had four. Nasby (14) and Burmeister (11) came together for 25 digs. Benson (11 kills) and Burmeister (10) led the team offensively at the net.
The Huskies took their young squad through the Southwest Conference this fall and lost just once along the way. The team will seek to replace two seniors as the offseason begins.
“We have just two seniors. On the court tonight we had a freshman, two sophomores, and the rest were a senior and juniors,” Van Epps said. “That is a positive for us going forward at JCC.”