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2023 Volleyball Day 3 Recap

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2023 - 10:27 PM

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Championship pairings are set for the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Volleyball State Tournament. Three enrollment classes filled those spots on Friday, Nov. 10 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. Here is how Championship Saturday will look for each of the four enrollment classes:

Class A

  • No. 1 Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (29-6) vs. No. 2 Mayer Lutheran (28-6), 2:30 p.m.

Class AA

  • No. 2 Pequot Lakes (29-5) vs. No. 4 Rush City (30-2), 3 p.m.

Class AAA

  • No. 1 Marshall (29-5) vs. No. 2 Delano (30-2), 6:30 p.m.

Class AAAA

  • No. 1 Wayzata (33-0) vs. No. 2 New Prague (27-5), 7 p.m.

Here is a look at Friday’s semifinals that set the championship pairings:

Class AAA

  • Delano forged its way into a championship match for the third time in program history with a 25-22, 27-25, 25-16 victory over No. 3 Byron in the semifinals. Delano, a Class AA runner-up in 2009 and the Class AAA runner-up in 2013, used scoring sprees in each of their first two sets to pave the way. Sophomore libero Kaelyn Wittwer had 20 digs for the Tigers and sophomore outside hitter Sydney Pink had nine kills. Delano’s only losses this season were to Wayzata and New Prague, the entrants in the Class AAAA championship match.
  • Top-seeded Marshall, seeking its third consecutive Class AAA championship, dropped the first set to No. 4 Detroit Lakes before storming back for a 20-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-18 victory. Senior outside hitter Brielle powered Marshall with 20 kills and 17 digs while senior libero Kennedy Drake had 18 digs. Sophomore setter Brooke Gillingham had 48 assists. Senior outside hitter Grace Gunderson paced the Lakers with 17 kills.

Class AA

  • When the Class AA seeds were revealed last week, there was chatter that Rush City had the looks of a very dangerous No. 4 seed. That speculation is ringing true so far, especially after the Tigers’ 26-24, 25-22. 25-19 upset over No. 1 Southwest Christian. Senior outside hitter Lydia Bengtson had 13 kills and junior outside hitter Autumn Stream added 10 to send the Tigers into the championship match in just their second state tournament appearance. A year ago, Rush City lost to Annandale in the quarterfinals.  
  • The final match of the semifinals was a stunning way to end Day 3 of the tournament. Second-seeded Pequot Lakes dropped the first two sets to Caledonia and was in serious jeopardy of being sent to the third-place game on Saturday before staging a ferocious comeback that left all drained of emotion before posting a 21-25, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23, 16-14 victory. Senior middle hitter Grace Hoffard had 21 kills and senior outside hitter Ella Kratochvil added 16 to send the Patriots into the Class AA championship for the second consecutive season. A year ago, Pequot Lakes finished runner-up to Cannon Falls. Senior outside hitter Logan Koepke had 29 kills for Caledonia, which was within a point a handful of times of advancing to the final before dramatic twists and turns in the match that took 2 hours, 16 minutes to play.

Class A

  • No. 2-seeded Mayer Lutheran, no stranger to a championship match setting, earned a chance at another crown with a 25-14, 19-25, 25-14, 25-12 victory over No. 3 Mabel-Canton. Senior middle blocker Danica Martin recorded 20 kills and junior middle blocker Marley Martin added 13 as the Crusaders earned a spot in the championship match for the third consecutive season. Mayer Lutheran was the Class A state champion in 2021 and the runner-up in 2022. Championships also came in 1982, 2016 and 2017, respectively.
  • Top-seeded Russell-Tyler-Ruthton faced Mayer Lutheran early in the regular season and now will end the season by seeing them a third time. That was assured when the Knights posted a 25-22, 25-15, 25-27, 25-17 victory over No. 4 New Life Academy in the semifinals. Senior outside hitter Abigail Carr led Russell-Tyler-Ruthton with 16 kills. In its second match of the season on Aug. 26, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton dropped a 3-1 decision to Mayer Lutheran. The Knights revered that with a 2-1 victory over the Crusaders in an invitational on Sept. 23. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton’s path to the state tournament included dethroning defending Class A champion Minneota in the Section 3A championship.


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2023 Volleyball State All-Tournament Teams