The first full week of the volleyball regular season featured five matches between nine of the teams covered under the “Journal-Sports” banner. LeRoy-Ostrander hosted Mabel-Canton, Kingsland hosted Lanesboro, Spring Grove hosted Houston, Kingsland hosted Grand Meadow, and Fillmore Central hosted Rushford-Peterson. Additionally, one squad defended a tournament title while their acclaimed coach surpassed another milestone.
Floodwood Title and Morken’s 800th Win Highlight M-C’s Week
The biggest story centered around Mabel-Canton volleyball. The Cougars sole league game was 3-0 sweep of LeRoy-Ostrander (25-8, 25-7, 25-10). Sahara Morken (32 assists, 9 digs, 21 of 21 serving, 6 aces) and Kinley Soiney (12 kills, 17-17 serving, 3 aces) led the way, helped by Saijal Slafter (9 kills) and Kailey Ingvalson (7 kills, 10 digs). The Cardinals were led by Benita Nolt (3 kills, 5 digs), Keira Lewison (3 kills, 6 digs), and Jenna Olson (7 assists). L-O rebounded by beating Southland 3-1 (See ‘SEC Volleyball’ for stats). The Cougars bigger accomplishment was defending their Floodwood Tourney title. M-C took out South Ridge 2-0 (25-12, 25-14), Duluth-Denfield 2-0 (25-11, 25-7), the hosts 2-0 (25-14, 25-8), and Proctor 2-0 (25-11, 25-10) in pool play. They then beat Proctor 2-0 (25-10, 25-17) in the semis before topping Floodwood 2-0 (25-13, 25-14) in the title match. Soiney had 14 kills on .565 hitting in said match. Cougar tourney leaders were Morken (8 kills, 138 assists, 46 digs, 43-44 serving, 6 aces), Soiney (74 kills, 27 digs, 14 total blks, 51-52 serving, 7 aces), Slafter (46 kills, 31 digs, 61 of 64 serving, 7 aces),
Ingvalson (19 kills, 34 digs), Lydia Vatland (32 digs), and Ava Jacobsen (49 of 51 serving, 5 aces). M-C was 281 of 292 serving (96%) for the 12-set tourney with 32 aces. All six main servers served 93% or better. The semifinal win gave Coach Lonnie Morken his 800th career victory. He is already in the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame and is set to go into the Minnesota Coaches Association Hall of Fame in October. He is one of only four volleyball coaches in Minesota history now with 800 career wins and will be the fifth volleyball coach in the MCAHOF. With the wins, the #2 in Class Cougars improved to 2-0 in the SEC, 8-0 overall.
Burros Hold Off Late-Hustling Knights
The matchup between Lanesboro and Kingsland saw four sets. For the first two, the Burros played like it was their second match while Kingsland played like it was their first of the year.
Lanesboro took the first two games, 25-20 and 25-14. But the Knights hustled in the next two sets. They jumped out 11-5 in game three, but Lanesboro came back to tie at 12-12. It was one of eight ties in the set. The last was at 23-23. An ace by Knight Kaylin Mensink and a kill by Ashlyn Harwood gave Kingsland the game, 25-23. Game four also saw the Burros reel Kingsland in again after an early 12-7 lead. Said match was also tied at 23-23. But Lanesboro took advantage of a Knight service error. Jensyn Storhoff then scored with a kill to prevent the match from going four sets. The Burros prevailed 3-1 (25-20, 25-14, 23-25, 25-3). Storhoff (10 kills, 15 digs), Claire Keasling (6 kills, 24 assists), and Ellie Anderson (6 kills, 18-18 serving, 7 aces) led the attack. Ellie Howard (17 digs), Sari Rein (9 kills, 4 total blks), and Ava Rein (10 digs) helped. Kingsland was led by Kadence Aarsvold (20 digs), Morgan Phillips (9 kills, 6 digs, 2 aces, 2 blks), Vaira Merkel (8 kills, 5 digs), Harwood (11 digs, 3 aces), Mensink (9 assists, 8 digs), and Macie Rasmussen (11 assists, 7 digs, 3 aces). It was Lanesboro’s only match of the week. They improved to 1-1 overall and in SEC play.
Larks Sweep Knights
Kingsland then turned around and hosted neighbor Grand Meadow two days later. GM controlled the first game 25-10 and then won games two and three by closer, 25-19 margins, for the 3-0 sweep. In two matches last year, Kingsland did not get to 19 points on GM. Lexy Foster (11 kills, 3 aces), Lauren Queensland (7 kills, 9 digs), Rylee Schaufler (27 assists), Cheyenne Bakken (13 digs), and Gracie Foster (5 kills, 6 digs, 5 aces) did big work for the Larks. Haylie Paul (6 kills) and Kendall Jack (7 digs) helped. Kingsland was led by Morgan Phillips (11 kills, 12 digs, 3 aces 2.5 blks), Kadence Aarsvold (15 digs), and Ashlyn Harwood (13 digs). Kaylin Mensink (8 assists, 6 digs) and Macie Rasmussen (7 assists, 7 digs) helped. GM improved to 1-1, 3-3. Kingsland fell to 0-2, 0-2.
Strong Serving Propels SG to Easy Win Over Houston
Spring Grove volleyball used its serving to control Houston in an SEC-East matchup. The Lions had 23 aces in the match (69 of 73 serving) in posting an 3-0 win (25-12, 25-9, 25-13). Kendal VanMinsel (7 kills, 16 assists, 13-14 serving, 4 aces) and Jordis Neeley (6 kills, 14-15 serving, 7 aces) led the effort. Hailey Normann (8 kills) and Sydney Holland (7 digs, 12-12 serving 3 aces) helped. Katie Klug (4 aces) and Joelle Halvorson (4 kills, 2 aces) gave SG five girls with multiple ace serves. Houston was led by Emily Botcher (6 digs) and Ellasyn Carrier (5 digs). The Hurricanes had just 9 kills. SG entered coming off a season-opening win over Southland 3-0 (See ‘SEC Volleyball’ for stats). Houston entered off wins over Lyle/Pacelli and Glenville-Emmons each 3-1. The Lions improved to 2-0 overall and in the SEC. Houston fell to 2-1, 2-1.
#6 Falcons Ride Broadwater to Win Over R-P, 3-0 Start
In TRC action, #6 in Class A Fillmore Central hosted Rushford-Peterson. It was the Kammry Broadwater show. Good passing by All-TRC libero Kyla Hellickson led to setting by either Aubrey Daniels or Katie Pickett, and then Broadwater slammed it down. The senior started game two by scoring FC’s first eight points, seven by kill. She finished the night with a double-double (19 kills, 10 digs). Alyssa Britton (11 kills, .625 hitting, 6 digs, 5 total blks) also was strong up front. Hellickson (14 digs, 3 aces), Daniels (25 assists), and Pickett (15 assists) set the table. Izzy Nagel chipped in 5 kills. FC posted a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-16, 25-11). R-P was led by Tayler Helgemoe (6 kills), Ava Drazkowski (5 assists, 5 digs), and Torryn Schneider (5 digs). FC improved to 2-0 in the TRC, 3-0 overall. R-P fell to 1-1, 2-1. FC entered having beaten L-A 3-0 while R-P entered having beat D-E 3-1 (See “TRC Volleyball” for stats).