It was a great season. But 1AA top-seed Chatfield had its state hopes annulled by the same team they fell to last year in the same spot. Kristi Rindels’ #2 Gophers (1-seed, 25-2) only had a little trouble in the 1AA quarters versus Medford (8-seed, 14-15). The Tigers fought in set one, but Chatfield prevailed 27-25. They then swept the match 3-0 (27-25, 25-12, 25-6). Harper Goldsmith (9 kills, 19 assists, 25-26 serving, 9 aces) did huge work. Jaelyn LaPlante (17 kills, 6 digs), Hannah Tweten (12 assists, 14 digs), Evy Goldsmith (7 kills), Cora Bicknese (7 digs), and Trindy Barkeim (5 kills) helped. One semifinal then pitted the #2 Gophers (1-seed, 26-2) versus defending state champion Cannon Falls (4-seed, 14-16). The Bombers played most of the year without All-State hitter Madison Burr. Playing in her third game, the 6’2” hitter’s presence helped. Chatfield had slow starts, but two strong comebacks. Cannon led almost the entirety of game one, taking it 25-21. The Gophers again fell behind in game two, 11-6. Down 18-14, Chatfield spurted 7-0 to go ahead 21-18. The run spurred a 25-22 set two victory, as Barkeim had seven kills in the game. Cannon then started game three up 6-1. Chatfield went on a 7-2 run to tie things at 8-8. A 4-0 run later turned a 17-16 deficit into a 20-17 lead. The Gophers closed out the set 25-21, taking a 2-1 lead.
Game four was the tightest. Chatfield led almost all of it, and were close to the match win following a Tweten ace, up 22-20. A LaPlante kill gave the Gophers a 23-22 lead. But Burr then put one down. Kallie Johnson followed with a kill and a block. Leading just thrice, CF staved off defeat with a 25-23 win. Game five was also tense. Trailing 9-4, Chatfield went on a 7-0 run to lead 11-9. With the set tied 12-12, CF’s Karysn Winchell sandwiched two kills around a back-breaking Katie Tipton ace-off-the net. CF scored the last three to post the comeback 3-2 win (25-21, 22-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-12). Cannon won last year’s semifinal 3-0. Barkeim (season-high 18 kills), who got injured in last year’s match, led the way on “O.” LaPlante (17 kills, 15 digs) and E-Goldsmith (14 kills) helped. H-Goldsmith (8 kills, 34 assists, 17 digs) stuffed the stat sheet. Bicknese had a match-high 39 digs. Tweten (13 assists, 13 digs, 16-17 serving, 5 aces) and Charleigh Larson (6 total blks) helped. Burr (19 kills, 21 digs, 5 ace blks), Johnson (18 kills, 14 digs), and Winchell (12 kills, 23 digs) hit hard for CF. Falon Hepola (46 assists, 18 digs) did the setting. Tipton (28 digs, 3 aces) led the Bombers defensively. Cannon hit .153, Chatfield .103. Chatfield’s season ends at 26-3. The hard loss snapped a 14-match win streak. The 26-wins ties last year for program best win-total. E-Goldsmith, Larson, Lexi Hinckley, Kieran Schmaltz, and Lauryn Daniels are Chat’s seniors.