By Alex Oey
MARSHALL - Facing a team more than once is tough.
Photo by Alex Oey
Minneota middle hitter Taylor Reiss, center, hits past Dawson-Boyd’s Justine Lee, left, and Mari Lee during the second set of Thursday night’s Section 3A-North final at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Facing the same team three times is even harder.
The Minneota and Dawson-Boyd volleyball teams squared off for the third time this season in the 3A-North sub-section championship, but only one team would continue its season this time.
"We knew that they were a good team," said Dawson-Boyd head coach Ashley Dahl. "We had to place our hits in the open areas and play hard defense."
Added Minneota head coach Steph Hennen, "It's hard to beat a team three times. Ashley is doing a terrific job over there. She has that program heading in the right direction."
The third time proved to be the same as the first two, as the Vikings (28-3 overall) defeated the Blackjacks (21-7) in three games, 25-19, 25-8, 25-20.
In the first game neither team was able to gain momentum early on until Minneota's Taylor Reiss served seven straight times - with an ace - to put the Vikings up 12-7.
Dawson-Boyd quickly cut into the lead with Justine Lee serving four straight, making it a 14-12 Minneota lead.
Both teams suffered from miscues that didn't allow them to make runs, but the Vikings closed out Game 1 with a kill from Reiss to win 25-19.
"We started off slow," Reiss said. "But towards the end of the game we started picking it up a lot more."
In the second game, Minneota jumped out to a 4-2 lead with Faith Laleman serving and never looked back.
Runs of five, two, four and four points allowed the Vikings to build a 23-7 lead. Three points later Molly Hennen, put it down to give Minneota a 25-8 win and a two-game advantage.
"We weren't making many errors," Molly Hennen said. "We did well serving, we kept a lot of balls alive that could drop. We did good at being scrappy."
But Dawson-Boyd wasn't ready to quit and made Minneota earn the third game.
The Vikings built early leads, but the Blackjacks clawed their way back from six points down, getting back within three at 20-17.
"We didn't want our season to end like this," said Dawson-Boyd's Mari Lee. "So we pushed. We played as a team and had good team chemistry."
But Minneota's attack proved to be too strong for Dawson-Boyd, and the Vikings took the sweep with a 25-20 win.
Despite the loss, the Blackjacks are looking forward to building on their success.
"It's a taste of what's good. These girls have never tasted anything (like this)," Dahl said. "It really gives them a taste of winning and what they can achieve. Taking what we've done this season and putting it into next season, I think we will do well."
Minneota, the top seed in the North sub-section, will face Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in the Section 3A Championship on Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
The Knights (20-12), the fifth seed in the South, knocked out the No. 4, No. 1 and No. 3 seeds to advance to the section championship. Two of those matches went five games.
"They play very good defense. We'll have to be ready for them to pick up everything we throw at them," Steph Hennen said. "We just have to play tough."
D-B19 8 20
Minneota25 25 25
Serving: DB (Ace serves)-Justine Lee 2, Katarina Kuhlmann 1; M (good-att-ace)-Taylor Reiss 14-15-2, Analisa Buysse 15-16-2, Molly Hennen 13-16-1, Shelby Corbin 7-8-1.
Kills: DB-J. Lee 6, Mari Lee 5, Kelly Husby 5; M-Reiss 19, M. Hennen 10, Hanna Prellwitz 6, Corbin 5.
Digs: DB-Kylie Schuelke 13, J. Lee 9; M-M. Hennen 16, Reiss 11, Faith Laleman 10.
Set Assists: Andrea Lee 11, Justine Flattum 11; M-Megan Larson 37.
Blocks: M. Lee 1; M-Reiss 7, M. Hennen 2, Prellwitz 2.