Sweeps occur in sections 3A, 3AA volleyball semifinals
R-T-R, T-M-B, Windom Area and Pipestone Area advance in post-season volleyball action Tuesday
There wasn’t a lot of doubt Tuesday night after the South Section 3A and 3AA volleyball semifinals were played.
All four matches went the minimum three sets.
In Worthington, top-seeded Russell-Tyler-Ruthton defeated fifth-seeded Southwest Minnesota Christian 25-14, 25-13 and 27-25. And second-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton downed sixth-seeded Adrian/Ellsworth 25-18, 25-20 and 25-18.
In Pipestone, the host Pipestone Area Arrows protected their No. 1 seeding with a straight-set triumph over fourth-seeded Redwood Valley. And in Windom, host Windom Area defeated seventh-seeded Montevideo 25-11, 25-13 and 25-14.
Sub-section championship games are Thursday. At Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, R-T-R and T-M-B contend for the right to advance into Saturday’s Section 3A championship. At Worthington Thursday, Pipestone Area and Windom Area compete.
South Section 3A
R-T-R 3, Southwest Christian 0
This showdown almost went beyond three sets. In the third, the Eagles caught fire, overcoming a 12-7 R-T-R advantage to put fans on the edges of their seats.
Late into the set, the two teams took their battle toe-to-toe. R-T-R had leads of 19-17, 20-18 and 21-19. Moments later Southwest trailed by just a point, 22-21, before hitting a long serve that gave the Knights another two-point lead, 23-21. But moments later the match was even, 23-23, and 24-24. Another bad Southwest serve made it 25-24 in R-T-R’s favor, but the Eagles got the next point to even it again at 25-all. Finally, the Knights prevailed as senior outside hitter Ella Hesse hit an ace spike off an A/E block out of bounds.
“We had a ton of fun,” Southwest Christian head coach Morgan Schoonhoven said about that third set. “We’ve been talking about our ‘bus legs’ all season, and we finally got rid of our bus legs that third game. We finally started playing like ourselves. That’s what we want to see.”
Inconsistency has troubled the Eagles at times this fall -- the first season as head coach for Schoonhoven.
“I think that comes sometimes with building a program,” she said. “Sometimes we gotta remember that we’re good.”
Paris Van Dyke had five kills for Southwest, and teammates Ana Veldkamp and Makenna Moss had four apiece. Veldkamp also had 13 set assists. Myah Vander Maten had 20 digs.
R-T-R’s three big hitters, Abigail Carr, Hesse and Camry Swanson, finished with 13, 11 and seven ace hits, respectively.
T-M-B 3, Adrian/Ellsworth 0
Senior hitter Ella Kamrud put down 10 kills and teammate Amber Hensch added seven as the Panthers pounced on Adrian/Ellsworth.
The Dragons, who upset third-seeded Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda in the semifinals, played well at times. But they weren’t as consistent as their opponents.
“We have a lot of kids who are playing hard for each other. That really helps,” said T-M-B head coach Rick Haberman. “I think we’re really balanced on offense. And that really helps.”
The first set was tight most of the way, but the Panthers -- buoyed by a serve that bounced twice on the top of the net and fell to the floor for a point -- went on a run that upped their lead to 20-12. The 25th point was scored on a block.
The second set, too, was close early. T-M-B inched out to a 12-8 lead but fell into a 12-12 tie on three serving points from A/E junior Sadie Krahling. The Panthers pulled away late.
T-M-B led for most of the third set and kept the Dragons at bay.
Adrian/Ellsworth got nine kills from Madeline Wagner and eight from Krahling in the losing cause.
Afterward, Haberman said it was too early to think about facing R-T-R, a team the Panthers lost to in the regular season. But he did have a few remarks about Adrian/Ellsworth.
“We knew Adrian/Ellsworth was a real good team,” he said. “And they’re a team that’s definitely improved as the season wore on. They played really, really good defense. They have some power hitting. And most important, they have smart hitting.”
Windom Area 3, Montevideo 0
Montevideo, an upset winner over Jackson County Central in the quarterfinals, had no magic against the well-schooled Eagles on Tuesday.
"I gotta give credit to all the girls. They came ready to play. We had a chance to break down what Montevideo does. Montevideo has a really nice middle. The girls just really stuck to our game plan," said WAHS head coach Crystal Fast.
Charlee Huska was 18-for-18 serving with three aces for Windom Area, and Hannah Dauer was 10-for-10 with one ace. Trystyn Maras had 16 kills and Dauer added nine. Makenna McNamara and Huska both had 15 kills. Huska and Maras had six digs apiece. Libero Kadyn Paulson was outstanding in serve receiving.
The Eagles lost to Pipestone Area 3-0 in the regular season.
"They're all seniors," Fast said of the Arrows. "So a lot of experience. We've gotta play our volleyball. If we take care of the ball on our side of the net, it'll be a great night of volleyball (in the sub-section finals)."