Splitting a pair of matches on Saturday, Class AA's top-ranked Marshall Tigers returned home from the Bachmann Tournament hosted by Lakeville North with a second-place finish. The Tigers swept Class AA No. 7 Caledonia 25-14, 25-17 before falling to tournament host and Class AAA No. 1 Lakeville North 25-19, 25-23.
Strong serving pushed the Tigers to 20-10 lead over Caledonia in the first set on Saturday morning. Hannah Bennett and Kenzie Beekman each had an ace during the run, while Angela Tauer had two. Beekman picked up one of her team-high 12 kills to go along with a Sydney Griffin kill and two hitting errors by Caledonia to reach set point. An ace block by Beekman finished off the set for the Tigers.
The second set saw more balanced scoring between the two teams, until the Tigers broke away with an 11-3 run to complete the sweep.
"The Caledonia win was a big win for us," Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. "Our kids really competed hard. (Caledonia has) got a couple of middle hitters that are as good as any we'll see. Our kids did a good job of containing those kids."
Tauer had two ace blocks against the Warriors, while Griffin and Maci Louwagie each had one. Griffin and Rachel Sanow combined for 24 set assists (14 and 10, respectively) in the win.
In the championship match, the Tigers fell to Lakeville North for the second time on the season. The Panthers earned their spot in the final match after sweeping Jackson County Central earlier on Saturday.
The Tigers were plagued by nine errors, four serving and five attacking, in dropping the first set to the nation's eighth-ranked team, 25-19.
"Lakeville North is the kind of team that will earn enough points without needing help from the opposition," Westby said. "We gave them far too many points in that opening set."
Marshall rebounded slightly in the second set, opening up a 9-4 lead, but Lakeville North went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead. Over the remainder of the set, neither team took more than a two-point lead.
"One of the things we did a great job of all weekend was not allowing teams to go on any kind of run on us," Westby said. "Seeing them go on a 6-0 run after we had built that nice lead was disappointing."
Beekman's 11th kill of the match tied the score at 23, but the Panthers closed out the tournament with an ace block and a kill. Griffin had eight kills and eight set assists for the Tigers, and Sanow had 11 set assists. Louwagie had two aces on 9 for 10 serving.
Though the Tigers (18-5 overall, 4-0 Southwest Conference) fell short of taking top honors in Lakeville, the tournament did provide Marshall with excellent experience against some of the state's top teams with section tournaments looming.
"It was a very productive weekend for our team," Westby said. "We played four teams that came into the weekend with a combined record of 58-8. Our kids know they need to compete hard each time out in the Lakeville tournament. The hope is that this will only make us better come tournament time."
Marshall has just four regular season matches remaining. Marshall hosts a pair of matches during the week, beginning with a non-conference match on Tuesday against Watertown (S.D.) followed by a Southwest Conference matchup with Redwood Valley on Thursday.
MARSHALL INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Serving (good-att-aces): Angela Tauer 9-9-2, Hannah Bennett 9-9-1, Kenzie Beekman 8-8-1.
Kills: Beekman 12, Sydney Griffin 7, Maci Louwagie 3.
Digs: Beekman 13, Bennett 7, Griffin 7.
Set Assists: Griffin 14, Rachel Sanow 10.
Blocks: Angela Tauer 2, Griffin 1, Louwagie 1.
Lakeville North25 25
MARSHALL INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Serving (good-att-aces): Kenzie Beekman 8-8-0, Maci Louwagie 9-10-2.
Kills: Beekman 11, Sydney Griffin 8, Angela Tauer 3.
Digs: Beekman 9, Hannah Bennett 8, Griffin 5.
Set Assists: Rachel Sanow 11, Griffin 8.
Blocks: Tauer 2, Callie Graff 2.