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JCC volleyball team advances to state title match

The Jackson County Central High School volleyball team will play for the state championship today (Saturday) at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

ST. PAUL -- The Jackson County Central High School volleyball team will play for the state championship today (Saturday) at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

JCC used strong starts and a versatile stable of hitters for a convincing 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Annandale Thursday morning in the Class AA tournament, then beat Mounds Park Academy in four sets Friday morning to advance to the finals.

The championship begins at 3 p.m. today at Xcel. Sauk Centre will face the Huskies for the title. In Friday’s semifinal round, Sauk Centre defeated Hawley 3-0 on scores of 25-23, 25-15 and 25-23.

JCC’s win over Annandale consisted of 25-15, 25-14, 25-19 straight-set victories. The win over Mounds Park Academy was 25-21, 24-26, 25-13 and 25-14.

Jackson County Central, playing in its first state tournament since 2003, will bring a 29-6 record into the championship match.

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JCC 3, Annandale 0

Senior hitter Sadie Voss had 14 kills, Emma Haren and Peyton Hanson had six kills each, and Georgianna Wenzel had five kills to go along with two blocks as the Huskies turned back the Cardinals on Thursday. Maci Farmer chipped in with 29 set assists and had three kills of her own as JCC dropped Annandale to 25-5.

In winning the Section 3 tournament, Jackson County Central had to go five tough sets to turn back Paynesville Area. But the Huskies were able to keep Annandale at bay for three straight.

Coach Deidre Wierson’s Huskies started well, moving out to a 5-0 lead in the first set in St. Paul, forcing the discombobulated Cardinals to take an early time-out. But it didn’t help as the Huskies moved to 8-0 before allowing their rivals to finally get on the scoreboard. Fighting back to within 9-5, Annandale then fell further behind after Farmer and Wenzel delivered back-to-back ace hits for 17-8 en route to the 10-point win.

In the second set, Annandale led 3-2 but allowed JCC to win six of the next seven points. The Huskies led 14-9 midway through, allowed Annandale to creep to within 16-13 but rallied to the end. A Farmer ace tip made it 21-14, and a Haren ace tip made it 23-14. Annandale got no closer.

JCC led 4-2 to begin the third set, saw Annandale tie 4-4, then scored eight of the next 10 points for a 12-6 advantage. The Cardinals came to within 12-9 as JCC took a time-out to regroup, and another Cardinal point at the conclusion of a long rally brought them to within 14-11 with a much-needed jolt of confidence. JCC scored three of the next four points to regain momentum, however, and never looked back.

JCC 3, MPA 1

The Panthers showed how dangerous they could be when they were able to outplay top-seeded Southwest Christian in a five-set quarterfinal round (scores were 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-11). They exhibited their resiliency against JCC by overcoming a 21-15 deficit to beat the Huskies 26-24 in the second set. But the Huskies exerted themselves to coast to game three and game four triumphs.

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Voss was outstanding again at the net, finishing the four-set match with 32 kills.

But Mounds Park Academy got the early jump, leading 4-0 early in the opening set. JCC began to heat up on offense after that, leading 9-5. The score was deadlocked at 10-10 and 13-13, but a Voss spike kill put her team on top 19-16, and another Voss crosscourt kill made it 21-17. Another Voss kill put JCC up 22-19 and soon after that, the 25th point was scored.

Voss continued to harass Mounds Park Academy in the second set, but the Panthers steeled themselves for a comeback, winning 11 of the last 14 points to tie the sets at one apiece.

Sets three and four, however, were JCC’s. In both games, the Huskies mounted leads of 13-7. One of the Panthers’ best players, junior Lola Pilon, who finished with 13 kills, went down midway through the third set with an apparent knee injury and didn’t return.

Kaija Kunze-Hoeg led MPA with 14 kills.

Hanson had 11 kills for JCC while Haren had eight and Wenzel seven. Farmer was outstanding in setting them up, totaling 52 set assists.

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
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