Could this be the year Mabel-Canton volleyball goes to state? Lonnie Morken has long run a top-notch program, but the answer is a realistic maybe. Section 1A is as open as it has been. There is no awe-inspiring squad. M-C is the Section’s only ranked team (#6). West juggernaut Faribault B.A. is not quite the same without ex-coach Franz Boelter. M-C is going to have to beat three quality clubs. One (perennial power) is down, the next is a familiar foe (the Cougars have already beaten thrice), and then a section title game. Who knows? M-C (1-seed, 27-5) first got past Kingsland (9-seed, 15-17) in the 1A East quarters, 25-15, 25-20, 25-18. Maddy Michels served the key scoring run in every game (4 kills, 24-24 serving, 11 straight points in set three). Kenidi McCabe (27 assists, 17 digs), Sarina Stortz (12 kills), Payton Danielson (7 kills, 11 digs), Lexi Thorson (5 kills, 15 digs), and Hannah Snell (11-11 serving, 3 aces, 14 digs) also did work. Lauren Buchholtz (14 kills, 20 digs), Ellie Buchholtz (13 kills, 21 digs), Alyssa Link (26 assists, 9 digs), and Jenna Schmidt (18 digs) led Kingsland, which finishes 15-18. M-C (1-seed, 28-5) then renewed its rivalry with Caledonia (4-seed, 18-11). The Cougars controlled things for almost three full sets. M-C led game one the duration, prevailing 25-16. They fell behind 5-1 in set two. Michels then had another key serving run (five points, three aces), turning an 8-8 tie into a 13-9 lead. The Cougars finished 24-11 for the 25-16 win. M-C was then up 19-11 and 22-14 in game three. Warrior senior Katie Tornstrom then got hot (seven kills down the stretch). Her ten-kill set helped Caledonia to a 27-25 comeback win. Game four saw M-C mostly in front. Down the stretch it was tight (23-21, 23-22, 24-22, 24-23). Finally, Michels hammered a big shot, deflected deep and unplayable. The Cougars got revenge for back-to-back 1A East title game losses, winning 3-1 (25-16, 25-16, 25-27, 25-23)! Michels had a career-high 22 kills on .450 hitting (13-13 serving with 4 aces; 37-37 serving on the week). M-C had 99 digs. Hannah Snell (career-high 25 digs, 24-25 serving), McCabe (53 assists, 17 digs), Thorson (8 kills, 22 digs, 3 aces), Danielson (12 kills, 16 digs), Stortz (12 kills), and Lauren Wyffels (12 digs) made it a team-effort. Tornstrom (19 kills, 13 digs), Lydia Lange (15 kills, 15 digs), and Haley Jennings (39 assists, 15 digs) led the Warriors. It will be M-C (1-seed, 29-5) versus SG (2-seed, 26-3) for the 1A East title.
About Paul Trende