PREP VOLLEYBALL: Minneota sinks T-M-B in Section 3A finalMARSHALL — Riding an impressive 28-kill performance from freshman middle hitter Taylor Reiss Saturday night, the North champion Minneota Vikings earned a dominant 25-14, 25-11, 25-17 sweep over the South champion Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers in the Section 3A high school volleyball title match at the R/A Facility on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
MARSHALL — Riding an impressive 28-kill performance from freshman middle hitter Taylor Reiss Saturday night, the North champion Minneota Vikings earned a dominant 25-14, 25-11, 25-17 sweep over the South champion Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers in the Section 3A high school volleyball title match at the R/A Facility on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University.
The perennial power Vikings (26-6) advance to the Class A state tournament for the third straight season, as Minneota was seeded third and will take on BOLD (21-8) in the first round Thursday at 3 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Meanwhile, T-M-B ends its season right at .500 with an overall record of 16-16.
“We had a good season and played some tough competition throughout the year to prepare us for the playoffs,” T-M-B head coach Katie Gervais said. “It really paid off for us, as we won three tournament matches and finished as the section runner-up. We just ran into a very good Minneota team that had everything clicking in this match.”
Minneota used a 17-4 burst to break away during a tight first set and was then in command from start to finish in the second and third games, jumping out to respective eight-point leads of 12-4 and 9-1 to complete the sweep in a classic matchup of two Camden Conference South squads with rich volleyball traditions.
Kills by Sammie Gervais, Kate Johnston, Jenna Stoneberg and Ashley Daniels (10 digs, three kills) sparked T-M-B early in the opening set, while back-to-back ace serves by Tiffani Karbo (18 set assists, 8-for-8 serving with three aces) helped give the Panthers a 10-8 lead.
The Vikings, though, countered with nine of the next 10 points to begin their game-changing 17-4 surge. Reiss controlled the net with four ace blocks — including three consecutive stuffs in the middle — during that span to put Minneota up 17-11.
Reiss hammered four kills from a variety of angles the rest of the way, while Shelby Corbin added a right-side kill and an ace block on a free ball to help the Vikings seal a 25-14 win. Megan Larson (40 set assists, 16-for-16 serving with three aces) also fired an ace serve, as the Vikings had it all going.
Reiss continued to pound the ball to the floor in the second set, while libero Kelsey Hennen (26 digs, 24-for-25 serving with three aces) helped Minneota keep the ball in the air on its side of the net. Two straight outside kills by Corbin and Molly Hennen (18 digs, nine kills) put the Vikings up 12-4.
A kill by Gervais (five kills, 8-for-8 serving with an ace) and an ace block by Johnston (five kills) made it 12-6, but Minneota — behind alternating hits to open areas by Reiss and Molly Hennen — cruised to a comfortable 25-11 victory for a 2-0 match advantage.
Lengthy service runs that included an ace apiece by Kelsey Hennen and Molly Hennen staked the Vikings to a 9-1 lead to start the third set, while Reiss later had a string of six consecutive points with powerful plays at the net to keep Minneota in control with a 15-6 advantage.
T-M-B answered with an 11-2 run to pull within three (17-14), as Stoneberg and Johnston scored on good swings to support a four-point service run by Karbo. Kelli Soupir added a kill for the Panthers, while libero Anna Peterson (six digs) played well in the back row.
Minneota, though, scored seven straight points to go up 24-14 and closed out a 25-17 victory for the sweep. Reiss knocked down three more thundering kills to aid the Vikings’ cause at the end.