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The Fillmore Central Falcon varsity volleyball team poses with their first place trophy after winning the Class A Showcase. They are (left to right, front row) Shelby Ebner, Tayah Barnes, Sara Schultz, Larissa Armstrong, Morgan Malley, (back row) Leah Scheevel, Sammi Bakke, Paige Bennett, Kaitlynn Aug, Taylor Case, and Tori Peterson. Photo by Paul Trende
At the beginning of the season, Fillmore Central volleyball coach Denise Case stated that her talented squad, one that had posted 20-plus victories the past two seasons but hadn’t made it beyond the Sub-Section semifinals, could no longer hang their hats on being a ‘young’ team. The junior and senior-laden Falcons needed to play like an ‘experienced’ team. Through just about a month of the volleyball season, they’d looked every bit the part of experienced. They beat #10 in Class AA Chatfield 3-0. They went to Wabasha and downed W-K 3-0, and then took second in W-K’s Veteran’s Invite (both losses to AAA Rosemount). A week later, FC traveled to Burnsville for the Class A Showcase, a tournament composed of not just some of the best teams in Class A, but most of the best teams. FC was the best.
Seven ranked Class A schools were among the 16 that competed in the two-day tourney, #1 Southwest Christian, #4 Win-E-Mac, #5 Mabel-Canton, #7 Nevis, the 8th ranked Falcons, #9 Wabasha-Kellogg, and #10 Tracy-Milroy-Balatan. When all was said and done, Fillmore Central had beaten four of the seven. They own victories over five of the seven (W-K). They’ll likely play the 6th (M-C). They can’t play themselves. In Pool Play, FC split with Mayer Lutheran 1-1 (24-26, 25-16), but got the win (scored more points in defeat). They beat Dawson-Boyd 2-0 (25-16, 25-15) before taking on #7 Nevis. FC swept the Tigers 2-0 (25-22, 25-14). The 3-and-0 Friday earned the Falcons their pool’s top seed. They moved on to Saturday action in the championship bracket (best of three). In the quarterfinals, they beat Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 2-1 (25-18, 22-25, 15-9). They then took on the top ranked undefeated Southwest Christian Stars and caused them to supernova 2-0 (28-26, 25-18). It put the Falcons in the finals versus another undefeated, the 19-0 #4 ranked Win-E-Mac Patriots. The Falcons won the revolution though, 2-0 (25-11, 25-18). They were crowned champions of the premier in-season Class A tournament in the state. Taylor Case, FC’s most dominant hitter and best all-around player, was named tournament MVP (led FC with 51 kills, 58 digs, 98 percent serving, 98 percent serve receive). Setter Morgan Malley (139 assists) and OH Tori Peterson (37 kills, 8 aces) were also named to the All-Tournament team. The experienced, talented, and athletic Falcons are now 16-2 on the season. They are the #1 ranked team in Class A. All six of the teams they beat, are ranked in the top 15. The Falcons are tied with Chatfield (5-0) atop the 3-Rivers.
The Mabel-Canton Cougars, meanwhile, may have played FC in the finals had it not been for the ACT’s. M-C also went 3-0 in the Friday pool portion of their tournament with their seniors. They beat Henning (25-19, 25-23), Canby (25-10, 25-10), and New Life Academy of Woodbury (25-11, 25-20). But Belle Sand, Lydia Geving, Carly McCabe, Sara Lind, and Christine Lee were then absent Saturday, taking the college entrance test. M-C went 1-2. Using juniors and underclassmen, they did down section adversary W-K 2-0 (25-20, 25-22). But the Cougars ran into powers Nevis (semifinals) and Southwest Christian (3rd place game) and bowed 2-0 each time (12-25, 12-25 and 11-25, 13-25). It was their first two losses of the season. They are 19-2 (7-0 in SEC). Chatfield competed in the Class AA portion (see below).
It is about as simple a formula as you can get on the football field. If you don’t allow any points to be scored on you, you really can’t lose. For the third consecutive week, and quarters 11-14, the Chatfield Gopher defense blanked an opponent. Jeff Johnson’s (3-1) crew trekked to Fillmore Central (2-1) and methodically dominated the Falcons. The Gophers first drive went 72 yards on 18 plays, taking 9:14 off the clock. A Jake Neis 1-yard plunge made it 7-0. That’s all Chat needed. The Falcons were held to under 100 yards of offense with four turnovers (3 fumbles, INT). FC had only one really strong series, a 16-play, 62-yard, five first down drive in the third quarter, one that ended with an INT. Other than that, Chatfield allowed just two first downs. Offensively, Nate Skare (28-yard FG) and Neis (29-yard run) had second quarter scores, Skare (12-yard run) and sophomore QB/RB Aaron Paulson (4-yard run) fourth quarter scores. The final was Chatfield 31, FC 0. The Gopher ground attack tallied over 300 yards. Neis (17 for 116, 2 TDs), Alex Bradt (10 for 69 yards), Skare (7-52 yards, TD), and Alex Haffner (8 for 49 yards) all contributed. Senior McKinnen Stone led FC’s ground game with 43 yards (but he fumbled three times, losing one). Junior Dylan Bathke was impressive on the Falcon’s one great drive. He finished with 34 yards on 9 carries. FC is 2-2 in the SFA Blue. Chatfield is 4-1 and trails R-P and Caledonia (4-0).
Holding Serve at Home
It doesn’t happen too often that three county volleyball teams each have a pair of home games during a given week. It thus hasn’t happened too often that all three defended their home courts. That’s what happened the week of September 16. The R-P Trojans hosted Houston on Monday. R-P had good early leads in each of the first two sets (8-2 and 10-2), only for the ‘Canes to rally, getting to 17-16 and 19-19 respectively. R-P closed from there for 25-18 and 25-23 wins. Houston then took an early big lead in game three (11-2), only for R-P to tie the contest at 19, and prevail 25-23 for the 3-0 sweep. Kendra Crawford’s serving was integral in the game one and three victories. She was 13-14 with 5 aces plus 11 digs. Sierra McNamer and Keela Brand (7 kills each) led R-P on the attack. For Houston, Abbey Loken was the standout, leading her squad in kills (12) and digs (11). Natalie King had 5 kills and 3 blocks.
Thursday saw Kingsland travel to Rushford. The theme was the same as Monday’s contest. The Trojans built leads (17-10, 15-9, and 19-13), only for Kingsland to frenziedly rally. All games were tied late (at 21, 21, and 23). R-P pulled out all three sets 25-21, 25-21, and 25-23. Crawford’s serving was again vital. She was 14-14 with 4 aces whilst scoring the final points in each of the first two games. She added 18 digs. Keela Brand had 16 digs (11 in game two). McNamer (12 kills, six in game one) and freshman Brianna Koop (8 kills) led the Trojans on the attack. Reann Kimbal (9 kills) and Brianna Musel (6 kills, 14 digs) led the Knights. R-P is 2-3 in the 3-Rivers, 8-6 overall. Kingsland is 0-5, 3-8.
Fillmore Central and Chatfield each also went 2-0 at home. FC first played Southland, and the Rebels didn’t make it to 25 in the three games combined (25-9, 25-4, 25-11). Leah Scheevel (10 kills), Taylor Case (10 kills), and Morgan Malley (5 kills, 21 assists, 9 digs) were the leaders of a tremendous team effort. They then played St. Charles and the Saints barely made it to 25 total (25-10, 25-5, 25-13). Tori Peterson (11 kills), Scheevel (11 kills), Case (8 kills, 11 digs), and Malley (33 assists) led the way. Chatfield, meanwhile, marched thru the Saints (25-13, 25-15, 25-12). Brook Irish (12 kills), Kirsten Keefe (7 kills, 7 digs), and a versatile Sheridan Salisbury (4 kills, 5 assists, 7 digs, 13-13 serving, 2 aces, 1.5 blocks) were big. The Gophers then hosted Wabasha-Kellogg in what looked to be a big conference match-up. However, the Gophers powered through W-K, using Irish (9 kills), Maddy Kammer (7 kills), and Keefe (7 kills, 9 digs) as offensive focal points. Sheridan and sister Gabrielle combined for 6 kills, 26 assists, 10 digs, and 3 aces. Chatfield won game one 25-21, and game two 25-17. They then exorcized any previous demons playing the Falcons and blasted W-K 25-4 in the final game. Go online for an extended version of this story.
•LeRoy-Ostrander (2-1) 15, Houston (0-3) 26 (H: Peter Jergenson 32-229, 3 TD’s rushing; Dylan Lee 14-49, TD rushing. ‘Canes scored 26-unanswered points after trailing 15-0. They are 1-2 in the SEC, 1-3 overall. Go online for more on this game.)
•Lanesboro (2-1) 33, Glenville-Emmons (0-3) 14 (Burros scored 27 first quarter points and cruised. They are 2-1 in the SEC, 3-1 overall)
•#2 in 9-man Grand Meadow 49 (3-0), M-C (1-2) 8 (M-C: Hunter Johnson 19-73 rushing; Noah Manning 13-70 rushing; Mitch Kuhn rushing TD. GM: Trenton Bliefus 11-17, 191 yards, 4 TD’s passing, rushing TD; Landon Jacobson 16-132, 2 TD’s rushing; Cody Ojulu 4-117, 3 TD’s receiving. Cougar’s records drop to 1-2, 1-3)
•Kingsland 8 (0-4), #6 in A R-P (3-0) 42 (R-P: Alex Vix 180 total yards offense, rushing TD, receiving TD, 80-yard KOR TD. Trojans are 4-0 and sit atop SFA Blue with 4-0 Caledonia. Knights are 0-5.)
•Kingsland 3, L-O 0 • 25-16, 25-23, 25-20 (K: B. Musel 7 kills, 9 digs; Rialie Fenske 17 digs; Megan Back/Hannah Pruter 8 assists each)
•#5 in A M-C 3, Caledonia 0 • 25-17, 25-13, 25-23 (M-C: B. Sand 16 kills, 13 digs, 4 aces; L. Geving 12 kills, 16 digs, 4 aces; C. McCabe 35 assists, 9 digs; S. Lind 8 kills, 2 blocks. In the final year of the Caledonia-MC, Luther Alum’s Scott Koepke-Lonnie Morken series, Cougars claw through Warriors. The schools were 3-3 versus each other over the 6-year tilt. The set record in those matches was M-C 12, Caledonia 12. Next season, the SEC welcomes Randolph to the conference and the Cougars will cede Caledonia from their schedule. Go online for more.)
•#5 in A M-C 3, Hope Lutheran 0 • 25-9, 25-8, 25-9 (M-C: L. Geving 11 kills, 6 digs, 3 aces; B. Sand 9 kills; Christine Lee 10 digs, 9 aces; S. Lind 5 kills, 4 blocks; C. McCabe 28 assists, 4 kills, 7 digs)
•Spring Grove 3, Lanesboro 1 • 18-25, 20-25, 26-24, 17-25 (L: Regan Howerton 6 kills, 4 blocks; Steph Erickson 19 assists, 6 digs; Kaia Hongerholt/Alexis Jorgenson 5 kills each. Burros are 1-6 in league/overall)
•Hope Lutheran 0, Houston 3 • 25-15, 25-21, 25-16 (H: A. Loken 8 kills, 2 aces; Kelly Jerviss 7 kills; N. King 6 kills, 3 blocks; Alexa Horihan 13 assists)
•#5 in A M-C 3, Spring Grove 0 > 25-22, 25-15, 25-14 (M-C: S. Lind 10 kills, 6 blocks; B. Sand 8 kills, 15 digs; L. Geving 7 kills, 6 digs, 2 aces; C. McCabe 6 kills, 28 assists, 10 digs)
•Class AA Showcase in Burnsville (Chatfield went 2-1 in the Friday pool portion, beating Maple Lake (25-14, 25-16), Greenway (25-22, 25-22) and losing to Belle Plaine (13-25, 19-25). The Gophers then went 0-3 in the Saturday championship bracket, losing 0-2 to Concordia-Roseville (15-25, 16-25) in the quarterfinals, 1-2 to Visitation (27-25, 20-25, 10-25), and 1-2 to Jordan (23-25, 25-12, 8-15). Gophers are 5-0 in 3-Rivers, 10-7 overall.)
•Waukon Tourney (Houston went 5-1, beating Central Elkader IA 2-0 (21-19, 21-13) and DeSoto WI 2-0 (21-14, 22-20) while losing to New Hampton IA 0-2 (17-21, 17-21) in Pool Play. Seedings for the tournament were based on defensive points allowed. Houston got seeded 8th and went to the Silver bracket. There they beat DeSoto 2-0 (25-16, 25-19) and Central Elkader 2-1 (25-27, 25-16, 15-6) to claim the Silver title. ‘Canes are 5-2 in SEC, 11-8 overall)
•Lake City Invite (Boys Team: 1st Minnehaha Acadmey, 2nd Austin, 8th (of 8) L/FC. Top Burro-Falcons: Travis Troendle (28th). Girls Team: 1st Austin, 2nd Minnehaha Academy, 6th (of 12) L/FC. Bur-cons finally put a full team out, capitalizing on the running of Kiera Olson (7th) and Leah Ruen (23rd)).