The Minneota Vikings lived up to their top seed in the MSHSL Class A State Volleyball Tournament today with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 win over the #2 seed Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers.  The Bucs pounded balls and threw off-speed attacks at the Vikings but their defense was just too good to overcome.

Minneota wins their second straight title and both years defeated a Gopher Conference team in the championship.  Last year they swept Medford by scores of 25-20, 25-14, 25-11.

Following the Bucs win over Medford in the semifinals Friday I spoke with a couple of coaches who said they thought WEM was the better team after watching both perform in the first two rounds of the State Tournament.  I thought it would be a terrific match because both teams are athletic and capable of playing "out of system" as coaches like to say due to their athleticism.

The statistic of the match in my opinion is told in the digs with Minneota collecting 90 digs and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 59 digs in the three set match.  More often then not the Vikings were able to outlast the Bucs to get points.

If you would have told me before the title match that Minneota would have 22 hitting errors and WEM 16 I probably would have thought the Bucs would be champs.  Here is where the rubber meets the road.  The Vikings had 8 more attacks (150) and cashed in on 19 more kills (50).

The numbers tell you there were not many pass, set, spike points for either team.  There were some back and forth volleys but almost all of those were won by Minneota.  In the first set junior outside hitter 5'10 Abby Hennen had 7 of her team high 22 digs.  She had as many kills (3) as errors (3) so her offense was not there yet.

Freshman middle hitter 5'11 Abby Frie had no errors on the attack adding 3 more kills on a hitting percentage of .429 and sophomore outside hitter Natalie Rolbiecki put down 5 kills at a .286 clip.

Seven different Vikings had kills in the first set while four Buccaneers were able to record a kill.  Minneota's team hitting percentage was .262 and WEM hit .184.  The Bucs had 4 attack errors, Vikings 6 hitting errors but Minneota had 6 more kills (17) than WEM (11).  Minneota finished with 21 digs compared with WEM's 13 in the first set.

Senior Delaney Donahue hit .333 in the first set with 5 kills but junior Toryn Richards hit a negative .077 with 2 kills and junior Kylie Pittman also had 2 kills while hitting .250.  Junior setter Ellie Ready was a perfect 10 for 10 on assists.

The second set Waterville-Elysian-Morristown hit negative .021 as a team.  Minneota hit .143 with 15 kills to the Bucs 8.  The Vikings had 31 digs, Buccaneers 18 digs.

The third set Minneota hit .169 with 18 kills, WEM .161 with 12 kills.  Digs were 31 to 7 in favor of the Vikings according to the MSHSL official statistics.

Final individual statistics for the Bucs in the match had Richards with 10 kills on .085 hitting, 17 digs, 1 service ace.  Senior Trista Hering hit .292 with 9 kills, 3 blocks. Pittman finished with 4 kills, 14 digs and a ace serve.  Donahue had 8 kills, 10 digs.

Donahue, Ready and Richards made the All-Tournament team for the Buccaneers.  The only seniors on their team were Donahue and Hering so they like Minneota have a lot of players coming back next year.

Abby Hennen led Minneota with 15 kills, 22 digs.  Senior Morgan Hennen had 10 kills, 23 digs and Rolbiecki tallied 14 kills, 18 digs.  The State Champion Minneota Vikings had both Hennens, Rolbiecki and sophomore setter Mckenna Yost make the All-Tournament team.

I would not be surprised to see a re-match at state next year.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown finished their season 34-3, Minneota 33-3.