South Section 3AA volleyball: Marshall prevails over Luverne
BY AARON HAGEN The Globe PIPESTONE -- At the beginning of the season, Alexis Ferrell didn't know what to expect out of her team. It didn't take long for her to realize it would be a special season. "I didn't know what to expect. But I knew all th...
BY AARON HAGEN
PIPESTONE -- At the beginning of the season, Alexis Ferrell didn’t know what to expect out of her team.
It didn’t take long for her to realize it would be a special season.
“I didn’t know what to expect. But I knew all the girls had a lot of heart for the game and I knew they wanted to be on the floor and they wanted to put forth all the effort,” said Ferrell, a senior middle hitter for the Luverne volleyball team. “That’s what counted in the end, when they came on the floor the first day of preseason, they were ready to go and that’s really what did us the best.”
Luverne’s season ended Thursday night in loss to Marshall in the Section 3AA South finals.
“It’s always really disappointing to lose, especially when you’re this close to getting somewhere even near state,” Ferrell said. “But I know that Marshall’s good and they did what they needed to do. But we worked hard too.”
The Tigers had to work during their 25-17, 26-24, 25-18 victory. The Tigers advance to Saturday’s Section final against the north’s top seed, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta.
“Luverne’s had a great year, they are a great team,” Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. “We feel fortunate we’re moving on.”
The Cardinals had their share of highlights this year, capped with a 20-5 record.
“I feel like we went out really well this season,” Ferrell said. “At the beginning of the year, when we played Marshall, we had no idea what to expect. We had a team totally different from last year, but coming into the end of the season, we knew we had to work hard. We knew that we earned it. We beat Jackson, we beat all the teams that we have so far. I’m really grateful for the team I’ve had and it’s just been a really good run.”
Marshall had leads of 6-2 and 15-8 early in the first game en route to the victory. However, the second set was a tough battle throughout.
“That’s how our season has always gone, the first game we always kind of test the water and then decide to play,” LHS head coach Susie Bork said. “They can play. We definitely had a lot of good shining moments and I can’t ask for a better match to end on.”
Behind a pair of kills from Greta Ahrendt and a trio of well-placed shots from Ferrell, the Cardinals led 11-8. The teams traded points back and forth, but MHS built a 21-17 advantage. Ferrell answered with a block and Mallory Thorson put away a free ball before Ferrell had another block to pull the Cardinals back in the set. A kill from the Tigers’ Logan Sherman gave them a 24-22 lead, but a service error and a kill from Ferrell knotted the game at 24. A kill from Erica Jones and an ace block sealed the victory for Marshall.
“After the first set we said we’ve tested the waters and we have it all figured out,” Ferrell said. “Now we go in and we go hard and we do everything that we learned to do and what we did to them last time we played them and what we did to Jackson. It was really just getting it together and getting it all clicking.”
The momentum Luverne was able to get in the second set carried over into the third as a kill by Thorson tied the score at 9 early. The Tigers answered with three quick points and eventually pushed the lead to 16-12. Marshall was able to close out the victory and advance with the opportunity to head back to the state tournament.
“Our kids are really committed and they put a lot of time in during the summer,” Westby said. “I think our kids are pretty good about tending to the fundamentals. I thought we passed the ball well tonight and I think it all starts there. We’re pretty fortunate to have a group of kids that isn’t afraid to put some time in.”
Ferrell finished with 18 kills, two blocks and 14 digs, while Ahrendt had eight kills. Sierra Schmuck had 21 set assists, while Gracie Bosch led with 19 digs.
Jones had nine kills to lead Marshall, while Sherman (23 set assists) and Paige Andries (four blocks) each had eight.