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2023 Volleyball Day 2 Recap

Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2023 - 10:15 PM

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Wayzata, the top-ranked Class AAAA volleyball team, finds itself in a familiar place.

The Trojans powered their way to another berth in the big-school championship match with a 25-14, 25-13, 25-16 victory over No. 5 Anoka in the Class AAAA semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. Senior outside hitter Olivia Swenson had 14 kills in the first-set victory to set the pace for the Trojans’ powerful attack. Senior outside hitter Avery Jesewitz chipped in 11 kills and junior middle hitter Katie Kelzenberg added seven.

Wayzata, the three-time defending big-school champion, is 33-0 this season, including 30 of those victories in straight sets. Wayzata last lost a set on Sept. 26 to Champlin Park.

Wayzata advanced to the semifinals with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-16 victory over unseeded Edina in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Wayzata, Edina and Minnetonka are three state tournament entrants that play in the Lake Conference.

Anoka (26-4) advanced to the semifinals with a marathon 29-27, 28-26, 26-28, 26-28, 15-4 victory over No. 4 Eagan in the quarterfinals. The Tornadoes are making their first state tournament appearance since 2012.

In the lower bracket semifinal, No. 2 New Prague turned aside upset-minded Stillwater in a 25-11, 25-17, 25-18 victory. New Prague is playing in its first season in Class AAAA. Senior setter Avery Klein had 19 assists for the Trojans (26-5).

"When we found out we were going to [Class] 4A this summer, all of us were kind of scared because we're the underdogs," New Prague junior outside hitter Emerson Dillion said. "A lot of people ask, 'Where's New Prague?'’’

Unseeded Stillwater (20-10) had earned a berth in the semifinals with a scintillating 21-25, 18-25, 25-20, 27-25, 17-15 upset victory over No. 3 Rogers in the quarterfinals. The Ponies, however, were not able to pull off a repeat upset bid against the Trojans.

Class A

New Life Academy, the No. 4 seed in the Class A field, was on the brink of being sent to the losers bracket, but stormed back from a deficit to record a 25-22, 16-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-12 victory over No. 5 West Central Area late Thursday night. Junior outside hitter Makenna Lilly, sophomore right side hitter Marissa Michaelis and ninth-grade outside hitter Arianna Twomey combined for 45 kills, who rallied from a 2-1 deficit with victories in the fourth and fifth sets, respectively.

Second-seeded Mayer Lutheran stormed back in the opening set and cruised from there to post a 25-23, 25-13, 25-16 victory over unseeded Ely. Junior middle blocker Marley Martin had 25 kills to pace the Crusaders.

Top-seeded Russell-Tyler-Ruthton opened with a 25-18, 25-10, 25-13 victory over Pine River-Backus behind 14 kills each from senior outside hitter Abigail Carr and senior middle blocker Allyson Nelson.

Mabel-Canton, the Section 1A champion and No. 3 seed, rolled to a 25-16, 15-15, 25-18 victory over Badger/Greenbush-Middle River. Sophomore Kinley Soiney led the way with 12 kills and junior Sahara Morken had 37 assists.

Class AA

Top-seeded Southwest Christian dropped a set to open the Class AA portion of the state tournament, but then promptly roared back with three consecutive victories to post a 24-26, 25-13, 25-18, 25-17 victory over Wadena-Deer Creek in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Senior Maddie Schmidt had 14 kills and senior Elizabeth Coleman added 12 to power the Stars (27-5). Three of Southwest Christian’s losses are to state tournament teams in higher-enrollment classes: Wayzata and Eagan (Class AAAA) and Delano (Class AAA). Ninth-grade middle hitter Payton Gravelle had 19 kills for Wadena-Deer Creek (22-10).

Rush City, the No. 4 seed, zipped to a 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 victory over No. 5 Annandale in another quarterfinal. The Tigers used two decisive runs, a 10-2 spree in the second set and a 13-3 run to turn aside Annandale (22-9).

No. 3 Caledonia started fast and didn’t let up until completing a 25-12, 29-27, 25-14 victory over Concordia Academy in a lower-bracket quarterfinal. Senior outside hitter Logan Koepke led a balanced Warriors’ attack with 11 kills.

Pequot Lakes, the No. 2 seed in the Class AA field, found itself in a two-set hole to open the quarterfinals, but that was erased with three consecutive set victories in a 24-26, 19-25, 25-13, 25-12, 15-6 win over Redwood Valley. Senior outside hitter Ella Kratochvil had seven of her 31 kills in the decisive fifth set.

Looking ahead

The Class AAA field returns to action on Friday with its semifinals. Top-seeded Marshall (28-5) will face No. 4 Detroit Lakes (26-7) at 9 a.m., and No. 2 Delano (29-2) will square off against No. 3 Byron (24-4) afterward. Marshall is the two-time defending champion making its 32nd state tournament appearance.


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