Kenyon-Wanamingo and Mabel-Canton Warm Up. Photo by Gortdy Kosfeld
Kenyon-Wanamingo and Mabel-Canton Warm Up. Photo by Gortdy Kosfeld

The top seed and #9 state ranked Faribault Bethlehem Academy Cardinals will play the #3 seed, #8 ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights Saturday for the Section 1A Title and a berth into next week's MSHSL State Volleyball Tournament.

After a close first set the Cardinals looked more comfortable in a 25-21, 25-15, 25-19 sweep of the #4 seed Spring Grove Lions at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

My unofficial statistics had BA with 10 ace serves, 41 total kills, 28 total errors in the match.

The Lions could not muster much offense at all finishing with 18 total kills, 21 total errors, 2 ace serves.

BA Senior Mia Potter was chosen the Cashwise Foods and Pharmacy of Owatonna Deliverer of the Match because she delivered a steady performance throughout.  Potter smacked two ace serves in the first set when the Cardinals needed them.

The second set was a dominating performance by Bethlehem Academy led by Lindsay Hanson.  The junior middle hitter had 8 kills in the set after finishing the first set with 7 kills.  My unofficial statistics had her hammering and tipping a total of 19 kills in the three set match.

Junior Kate Trump finished with 11 kills, classmate Jaden Lang had 6 kills. They were named our Malecha's Auto Body of Faribault Crunch Time Faribault Players of the Match along with setter Reagan Kangas.

Kangas does an exceptional job of spreading the ball typically but on this night Hanson had a super hot hand so keep feeding the hot hand until she is stopped.

Kenyon-Wanamingo had a tremendous comeback in their 5 set match with Mabel-Canton.  The Cougars were up two sets to one and dominated the two sets they won.

Scores were 25-14 Mabel-Canton first set, K-W won the second 27-25, then the Cougars captured the third set 25-15 before succumbing to the Knights by scores of 25-23 and 15-11.

K-W struggled mightily in the first set.  I had them with 14 total errors.  In the second set they willed themselves to victory winning some long points against Mabel-Canton.

The Knights had 9 errors in that set.  11 errors in the third set, 10 in the fourth and 4 in the fifth set.

Before the match I speculated the MIlo Peterson Ford Key to the Match for K-W would be a good block.  It turned out to be true.  The Knights had just 5 ace blocks according to their statistics but many times hands were able to slow down kill attempts by Mabel-Canton.

Sophmore Nora Rechtzigel helped do just that beginning in the second set.  Mabel-Canton was picking everything up like most Cougars teams do but K-W would not back down winning some long volleys.

I always say in most sports the more aggressive team wins and Kenyon-Wanamingo was definitely the agreesor in the fourth and fifth sets.

Junior Tessa Erlandson struggled in the first set before a 7 kill second set, 5 kill 4th, 5 kill 5th performance.  Officially finishing with 19 kills,  Senior Leah Berg was her usual efficient self, picking up the pace in the final two sets finishing with 15 kills.

Berg smacked a kill for the final point of the match.  That play was chosen for our Cashwise Foods and Pharmacy of Owatonna Delivery of the match.

Knights players chosen for the Held Bus Service of Kenyon Players of the Match were Erlandson, Nora Rechtzigel and Josie Quam. Quam, a junior had 34 set assists, 13 digs, 6 kills, two ace serves.

Freshman Carmen Nerison had 3 ace serves, 1 in the 5th set in addition to 17 set assists, 12 digs.

Sophmore libero Rachel Ryan had 28 digs including an incredible chase down of a ball into the bench she saved.  Ryan was credited with 7 set assists on the official statistics.

Senior Julia Dahl had 20 digs,  Erlandson 22 digs.

The official stat sheet for K-W was 56 kills, 54 set assists, 98 digs, 10 ace serves.

Mabel-Canton finished their season 24-4 while Spring Grove ended their year 16-8.

The Knights 19-4 will play the BA Cardinals (19-11) at 10 Saturday morning in Rochester. Randy Sobrack will be on the call for POWER 96 Radio, 95.69 FM.  The best way to listen is through the FREE POWER 96 app.

The two teams played in the Castle on September 14the with the Cardinals winning in four sets

The winner advances to the State Tournament next week in St. Paul.

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