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High school volleyball: T-M-B, Windom Area qualify for 3A South subsection final

BY DOUG WOLTER, ADAM WATTS DAILY GLOBE WORTHINGTON -- Top-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and second-seeded Windom Area fought off tough opponents in the semifinal round of the Section 3A South volleyball tournament Tuesday night. The Panthers defeat...

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Sydney Lanoue (11) and Kendra Ludeman block a kill attempt by Westbrook-Walnut-Grove's Makenna Takle on Tuesday in Worthington.

BY DOUG WOLTER, ADAM WATTS

DAILY GLOBE

WORTHINGTON -- Top-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and second-seeded Windom Area fought off tough opponents in the semifinal round of the Section 3A South volleyball tournament Tuesday night.

The Panthers defeated Westbrook-Walnut Grove in four games in the early match at Worthington High School and the Eagles dispatched Hills-Beaver Creek in four games in the late match.

At 6 p.m. Thursday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, T-M-B and Windom Area will play for the South championship and the right to battle the North champ for a state berth.

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T-M-B 3, W-WG 1 Tracy-Milroy-Balaton controlled the net in its 25-20, 25-15, 21-25, 25-18 victory over Westbrook-Walnut Grove.

The Panthers and Chargers played a tight, back-and-forth first set, but trailing 20-18, T-M-B got on a run and scored the final seven points to win 25-20. Kaylee Kirk put the set away for the Panthers with a service ace.

They carried that momentum into the second set, running away with a 25-15 win.

W-WG showed some fight with its back against the wall, and stayed alive with a 25-21 win in the third. The set went back and forth, with neither team getting a long run, until with the set tied at 19, the Chargers scored five of the final seven points.

T-M-B answered in the fourth set, jumping out to an early lead and keeping its foot on the gas, cruising to a 25-18 victory that sealed the match.

Senior setter Gabbie Gervais controlled the match for T-M-B, racking up 34 set assists, while putting 16-of-17 serves in play.

Sydney Lanoue fired home 21 kills for the Panthers, was 15-for-16 serving with an ace, racked up 24 digs and four blocks.

Kirk was the Panthers leading server, putting 18-of-20 serves in play with two aces, including the set-point ace in the first. She also added five kills and led with 25 digs.

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Emma Woelber had 27 set assists for the Chargers, while Grace Woelber led with 37 digs.

Cassidy Mischke had 15 kills to lead W-WG, while Brittany Erickson had six and Talitha Horkey had five.

Makena Takle was the Chargers’ leading server, putting 16-of-17 serves in play, with two aces.

The Panthers are now 26-7 overall heading into the subsection finals, while W-WG finishes its season at 22-8.

Windom Area 3, H-BC 1 Very little separated the Eagles and the Patriots for most of the night. It was a hard battle, but Windom Area prevailed, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22 and 25-20.

Hills-Beaver Creek, which won the Red Rock Conference this year and brought a 24-2 record into the match with Windom, put its many athletic players on display, and the Eagles were hard-pressed to counter.

One of the keys for WAHS was 6-1 junior outside hitter Porsha Porath, who had the hot hand early in the fourth game.

“They didn’t get a consistent block on her all night. We just said, ‘Hey, we gotta feed her,’” said veteran Windom Area coach Ron Wendorff.

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Porath finished with 25 kills. She also was 19-for-19 on the service line with seven aces.

Wendorff said the Eagles went into the match knowing that they could not control the net the way they usually do -- the Patriots possess too many athletic players. So passing and defense was important.

Windom Area passed that test, too. Madison Maras led the team with 23 digs, and Hallie Will had 11. Maurissa Isaacs had four blocks. Halle Jackson led the Eagles with 24 set assists and Becca Hacker had 15. Hacker and Isaacs each had seven kills of their own.

“That was a nice team we played,” Wendorff said. “My hat’s off to Hills-Beaver Creek. They gave us all we wanted, and more.”

For H-BC, senior middle hitter Jasmine Lingen had 15 kills. Olivia Richards had 10 and Avery Van Roekel seven. Avery Wysong had 20 set assists. Sidney Fick had five blocks and seven kills.

H-BC head coach Susan Bork was philosophical after the match.

“Every game, I say to them, ‘Somebody wins and somebody loses.’ And tonight was one of those matches,” she said. “The whole group of (H-BC) girls is very athletic. But (Windom) has some very strong hitters as well.”

With Tracy-Milroy-Balaton next on the schedule, Wendorff said his 21-10 Eagles will have to be very sharp to move on to the next big test.

“We’re just going to have to be really, really efficient. Because that’s their game. They don’t make very many mistakes,” he said.

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