The 1A East volleyball tourney came down to four teams in a geographical line, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Mabel-Canton, and Fillmore Central. Two state powers are set to meet up yet again, for the 1A East title.
In one quarter, 7-seed L-A (18-10) took on 2-seed M-C (26-5). The Cougars took game one 25-19. The Cardinals, who can flash, then had their moment. L-A came back from down 24-19 to win game two 27-25. The flash then fizzled. Consistency defeated inconsistency. L-A out-errored M-C in each of the first three games (10 total double hit violations). They had seven kills the last two games after 25 the first two. The cats (Cougars) ate up the birds (Cardinals) by a 3-1 final (25-19, 25-27, 25-15, 25-14). Maddy Michels (13 kills, .650 hitting) and Dakota Delaney (13 kills, 4 blocks) led the offense. Savannah Slafter (11 kills, 13 digs), Payton Danielson (7 kills, 13 digs, 28-30 serving, 3 aces), and Kenidi McCabe (45 assists, 9 digs) played ‘O’ and ‘D’. Lexi Thorson led M-C with 14 digs. L-A was led by Ella Miller (9 kills, 4 blocks), Ciarra McNally (7 kills, 14 digs), and Staley Seefeldt (17 digs).
Just to the west, 3-seed FC (19-7) also had a tough test in 6-seed Schaeffer Academy (18-7). FC took game one 25-20, but then fell 27-25 in game two. The Falcons seemingly had control of game three (up 19-11). They snuck it out 27-25, then closed out the match in game four, 25-18. The birds (Falcons) pecked out the cats (Lions) by a 3-1 tally (25-20, 25-27, 27-25, 25-18). Senior Cailey Rindels led the way (career-high 18 kills, 12 digs). Paige Donlinger (12 kills, 23 digs, 23-24 serving, 4 aces) was also big all-the-way-around. Charity Daniels (7 kills), Kaelyn Marzolf (6 kills, 2 ½ blocks, 22-23 serving, 5 aces), and Alleigh Meyer (6 kills) gave FC five with six or more kills. Madison Scheevel (5 kills, 35 assists, 17 digs) picked up her 1,000th-career assist. Kjerstiana Corson added 22 digs. It was FC’s 20th win of the year. FC topped 20 wins four years straight from 2011-2014.
And thus, for the fifth time in six years, FC (3-seed, 20-7) and M-C (2-seed, 27-5) met at Mayo Civic Center.
Game one of the 1A East semi was odd. FC’s first kill gave them a 12-7 lead. They had just six kills in the set, but led wire-to-wire, sweating it out late. A 24-17 lead was whittled to 24-23. An M-C service error gave the Falcons the game, 25-23. After falling behind 5-1 in game two, M-C scored 16 of the next 20 points to take a 17-9 lead. Slafter scored five kills, as M-C prevailed 25-17. The Cougars then led game three wire-to-wire, Hannah Snell’s eight-point serving session invoking a 16-6 lead. Danielson scored 6 kills, as M-C won 25-12 to go up 2-1. Game four was then the most competitive. M-C led 12-6. FC came back to tie things at 13. The teams then tied at 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23. M-C was at match-point (24-23), but the Falcon senior Marzolf scored with a kill (24-24). The Cougars went to Michels in the middle for one kill (26-25), then Slafter on the outside for another. Lonnie Morken’s cats (Cougars) clawed past Travis Malley’s birds (Falcons) by a 3-1 final (23-25, 25-27, 25-12, 26-24). Six Cougars finished with ten-plus digs. Slafter (19 kills, 13 digs), Danielson (14 kills, 16 digs, 21-22 serving, 3 aces) and Delaney (10 kills, 10 digs) had double-doubles. McCabe (50 assists, 12 digs), Thorson (17 digs), and Snell (14 digs) also D’ed up. Michels had 10 kills. FC’s Donlinger (31 digs) and Rindels (9 kills, 23 digs) notched the two highest dig totals. Only Marzolf reached double-digit kills (13). Scheevel (25 assists, 10 digs) and Corson (13 digs) helped. M-C out-killed FC 57 to 31 (0.196 to 0.006 hitting). Caledonia (1-seed, 21-8) beat SG (4-seed, 21-6) in the other semi. It’ll be 2-seed #10 M-C (28-5) and 1-seed #7 Caledonia (22-8) for the 1A East title. FC finishes at 20-8.