Young Chatfield got its feet wet in the 1AA playoffs, making the semis. In the quarters, Molly Thomas’ Gophers (3-seed, 25-2) matched up with La Crescent/Hokah (6-seed, 11-6). Chatfield lived by its serving and the hops and swing of its star hitter. In game one, the Gophers had seven service errors. And yet, they still led 19-13. But Lancer sophomore Abbi Ernster served six straight points, part of a 7-0 run that tied the match at 20. All told, LC/H finished the game 12-3 to steal it 25-22. From there, the Gophers serving steadied and sophomore jumping-jack Jaelyn LaPlante supplied a steady diet of kills. Chatfield had 14 aces to LCH’s three. LaPlante, Tatum Allen, and Harper Goldsmith all had four-plus-point service runs in game two, a 25-14 victory. Alexis Hinckley, Trindy Barkeim, and Allen all had three-plus-point service runs in game three, a 25-15 victory. Hinckley posted four aces and eight total points in one serving run in game four. She helped flip a 10-9 Lancer lead into a 17-10 Gopher edge. LaPlante (team-high 17 kills, .378 hitting, 16 digs) consistently pounded down shots. The Gophers took game four 25-16 for the 3-1 win (22-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-16). H-Goldsmith (4 kills, 34 assists, 15 digs, 5 aces) did everything from her setter spot. Cora Bicknese had a team-high 19 digs. Barkeim (5 kills, 8 digs, 4 aces) and Hinckley (8 digs, 4 aces) helped, particularly serving. Kara Goetzinger (9 kills) and Evy Goldsmith (6 kills) added some “O.” The win put the Gophers in their first 1AA
“final four” since 2013. Chatfield’s “reward” for those feats was #6 in Class AA Cannon Falls (2-seed, 24-7). The Gophers battled, but the Bombers were more convincing in every game, winning a sweep 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-9). The first game was tied five times late before back-to-back Bomber kills, the last by Kallie Johnson, ended things. Chatfield lost Barkeim, who had five kills at the time, to injury in the set. Game two saw CF finish 6-2 to expand a 19-18 lead. LaPlante (6 kills, 21 digs), Goetzinger (6 kills), and Goldsmith (5 kills, 9 digs) did work offensively. H-Goldsmith (22 assists, 12 digs) set the table. After 14 Gopher aces versus LCH, CF gave up just one. Chatfield only gave up two aces. Madison Burr (16 kills, 11 digs), frosh setter Falon Hepola (39 assists), and Kyra Schoenfelder (20 digs) led the Bombers. Chatfield finishes with a school record in wins (26-3), topping the 2013 1AA runner-up squad (25-9).