JCC nips Paynesville in intense battle to win state volleyball berth
It was a stress test, of sorts, as the Jackson County Central Huskies and the Paynesville Area Bulldogs fought it out for a state volleyball berth Saturday night at Southwest Minnesota State University. But in the end, the Section 3AA champion Huskies prevailed to qualify for their first state tournament since 2003.
MARSHALL -- It was a stress test, of sorts, as the Jackson County Central Huskies and the Paynesville Area Bulldogs fought it out for a state volleyball berth Saturday night at Southwest Minnesota State University. But in the end, the Section 3AA champion Huskies prevailed to qualify for their first state tournament since 2003.
In a five-set showdown, JCC won sets four and five to capture the crown. Scores were 25-27, 25-17, 10-25, 26-24 and 15-10.
“It was pretty intense. A big battle back and forth,” said Huskies head coach Deidre Wierson.
The Huskies had to fight through several issues, said the coach. For a time, they missed several key serves. And they were not picking the ball up defensively. Then there was the matter of Bulldogs Natalie Riley and Kyleigh Tangen.
“Just defensively, we couldn’t stop No. 11 and No. 4,” Wierson said. “They did a good job of getting the ball to those hitters, and we just couldn’t stop ‘em.”
The Huskies played a poor third set but were able to recover to win a tight fourth set. In the fifth, Wierson said, “Point by point the girls were just really focused. It was almost like a flip of the switch, a little re-set.”
Team depth helped. When Andria Benson came off the bench, she sparked the Huskies. Her “different swing on the ball” gave Paynesville Area a different look, Wierson said. Also, sophomore Emma Haren played an outstanding game.
Haren finished with 17 kills and six digs, and she was 17-for-21 serving with five aces.
Sadie Voss led JCC with 19 kills and 18 digs, and she put 11 of 12 serves into play. Maci Farmer had 45 set assists, was 17-for-17 serving with two aces, and also had five kills and eight digs.
Georgianna Wenzel chimed in with eight kills and 14 digs, and she was 19-for-21 serving with a pair of aces. Peyton Hanson added three blocks and four kills.
Jackson County Central will open state Class AA tournament competition Thursday at the XCel Center in St. Paul against an opponent yet to be named.