The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers won the first set but could win no more against the two time defending State Champion Mayer Lutheran Crusaders in Mankato Saturday night.  It was the third straight time the two teams collided in the Section title match.  Head Coach Crystal Lamont told KDHL on the WEM Girls Coaches Show earlier in the day if they lost it would not diminish the fantastic season her team had.

The Buccaneers won the first set 25-18 when 5'5 senior outside hitter MaeLea Harmon collected 5 ace serves and the Crusaders had 10 total errors.  The aces would keep coming for WEM but errors mounted in serving also.   The Bucs had 13 aces and 11 errors in the match.  Harmon had 6 aces, Delaney Donahue 3 aces and Morgan Nusbaum 2 aces to lead the way.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown struggled with the Mayer Lutheran middle attack in the next three sets.  6'2 junior Claudia Stahlke had 7 kills in the third set and finished with 12 by my unofficial tally.  6'1 freshman Lily Wacholtz had no kills in the first set but recorded 8 the rest of the way and the two combined for just 6 hitting errors.  6'1 junior Olivia Tjernagel finished the night with 18 kills and 5 hitting errors according to my unofficial stratistics.

The statistic of the match is the one block the Buccaneers had the entire night.

Official WEM statistics showed a .162 hitting percentage on the night with 45 kills and 19 hitting errors.  5'9 Sophomore Toryn Richards led the team with 13 kills.  5'8 senior Alexis Morsching had 11 kills and Harmon 10 kills.  Nusbaum and Harmon had 19 set assists each.

5'14 senior libero Shelby Hermel led her Bucs in digs with 16, Harmon had 15, Donahue and Morsching each collected 13.

Mayer Lutheran has one senior on their roster so they figure to continue to be a power in Section 2A and the state.  The 21-9 Crusaders will probably have a high seed.  The final Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association rankings had WEM #2 and Mayer Lutheran #3.  Minneota has been on top most of the season.

Crusaders Head Coach Joelle Grimsley lost a number of players from the back to back title teams.  They lost their first three matches of the season before defeating a very good Belle Plaine team in a 5 set thriller.  That match appeared to send them in the right direction.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown finishes their season 31-3 with two of their losses coming to Mayer Lutheran and the other to an outstanding River Falls, Wisconsin team.

Mayer Lutheran (21-9) did lose to Minneota in a tournament this season.  I think they will receive the top two seeds and there is a very good chance the two could see each other again in the title match.  Last season Mayer Lutheran swept Minneota for the state championship.

Medford could play one of those top seeds in the first round Thursday and they are playing some excellent volleyball.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Receives 2nd Place Trophy. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld