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John’s Journal: The Dream Becomes Reality

Sauk Centre Players Surprise Even Themselves With State Title

Posted: Saturday, November 13, 2021 - 7:14 PM

Sauk Centre VB

Sauk Centre coach Jim Klaphake and the team’s seven seniors meet the media after winning the Class 2A volleyball title.

After the Sauk Centre High School volleyball team won in Friday’s Class 2A state semifinals, coach Jim Klaphake admitted he was somewhat surprised that the Mainstreeters were headed to Saturday’s state championship match.

“I thought this was going to be a good team, and it’s a great team,” he had said Friday.

When Klaphake and the team’s seven seniors arrived for a postgame session with the media on Saturday – following their gold-clinching 3-1 victory over Jackson County Central – the coach began by smiling broadly and addressing his statement from a day earlier.

“I thought this was an awful good group,” he said. “I didn't lie, either.”

A few minutes later, as the Mainstreeters talked about their come-from-behind, stomp-on-the-gas, 13-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-19 win over the talented, gritty Huskies, the seniors were asked, “Raise your hand if you thought you would be state champs.”

Only Emma Kittelson, alternating between tears of joy and a buoyant grin, raised her hand. She looked at Klaphake, her smile broad, as the coach and the other seniors laughed. It was quite a moment.

The whole thing seemed like a dream come true for the Mainstreeters. They had a wonderful season, coming to the state tournament with a 30-1 record, finishing 33-1 and taking home all those gold medals and a state championship trophy. But surprised they were.

“I've been doing this for a while,” said Klaphake as he wrapped up his 18th season as a head coach with a state title in his first title match. “We were here in 2010, 2011 and 2012. We've been in the section championship five times in between there (and now).”

Asked about the dream of winning and the actual experience of winning, the answer was easy. The coach looked at his seniors and said, “Girls, what do you think? Yeah, I think this more than matches the dream.”

Marshall joins an exclusive club

When Marshall defeated Kasson-Mantorville 3-0 to win the Class 3A state championship Saturday, the Tigers became the sixth school in Minnesota history to win seven volleyball titles. No school has won eight state championships. The six are:

Bethlehem Academy: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014.

Chaska: 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2014.

Eagan: 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2013, 2015, 2016.

Robbinsdale Armstrong: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2000, 2002.

Tracy-Milroy (Balaton): 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2004.

Marshall: 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2021.

State Volleyball Tournament

Class 1A

Championship: Mayer Lutheran defeats Minneota 25-15, 25-20, 25-18

Third place: Bethlehem Academy defeats Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 25-18, 15-25, 25-22, 25-16

Fifth place: Legacy Christian defeats Breckenridge 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 25-21

Class 2A

Championship: Sauk Centre defeats Jackson County Central 13-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-19

Third place: Hawley defeats Mounds Park Academy 29-27, 12-25, 22-25, 31-29, 19-17

Fifth place: Southwest Christian defeats Cannon Falls 25-18, 25-19, 25-16

Class 3A

Championship: Marshall defeats Kasson-Mantorville 27-25, 25-22, 25-16

Third place: New Prague defeats Grand Rapids 25-15, 25-23, 25-21

Fifth place: Monticello defeats Chisago Lakes 19-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17

Class 4A

Championship: Wayzata defeats East Ridge 25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19

Third place: Eden Prairie defeats Rogers 33-31, 22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13

Fifth place: Lakeville North defeats Bloomington Jefferson 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

Marshall Celebration

Marshall Tigers celebrate their Class 3A state championship.

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