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Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Volleyball

State Girls' Volleyball Tournament Preview

By MSHSL - St. Paul

Marshall in Class AA and Eagan in Class AAA both return to defend their 2013 titles, while Cambridge-Isanti (AAA) will be making its first appearance when the 2014 State Girls’ Volleyball Tournament begins Thursday, November 6 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

If Marshall wins it would be the fourth consecutive and seventh overall title for the Tigers. The Eagan Wildcats are looking for their second consecutive and sixth overall championship.

It is the seventh year of seeding for the tournament. Coaches of the qualified teams seeded all of the other teams online and then opponents were randomly selected for the top three seeds by coaches’ association representative Jeff Groves. Seeds No. 4 and No. 5 automatically play each other.

In Class A, three teams return from the 2013 qualifying field: Martin County West of Sherburn, Ada-Borup, and Carlton. In addition to Marshall, Mora, Maple Lake, and Belle Plaine also return to the Class AA field. All of the qualifying teams in Class A and Class AA have previous tournament experience. Roseville Area, Eden Prairie, and Rochester Mayo join Eagan as returning qualifiers in the Class AAA field. Cambridge-Isanti is the only team making its first appearance.

Class A Quarterfinal Highlights

None of the Class A qualifiers have perfect records, and all of the teams have previous tournament experience.

No. 1 Seed-Section 1-Bethlehem Academy, Faribault (26-4) vs. Section 8-Kittson County Central (25-7): Bethlehem Academy, which was ranked No. 1 in the final coaches association poll, returns to tournament action after a one-year absence. The Cardinals are making their third appearance under this name, but also made eight appearances as a co-op with Discovery Public School of Faribault between 2002 and 2009. Bethlehem Academy is looking for its seventh title; the Cardinals won previously in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Bethlehem Academy defeated Mayer Lutheran twice during the regular season, 3-0 and 2-0. Kittson County Central, which includes students from Kittson Central of Hallock and Lancaster, is making its first appearance under this name. Kittson Central made one solo appearance in 2005. The Bearcats, who were not ranked in the final coaches’ poll, did not face any other qualifiers during the regular season.

No. 4 Seed-Section 2-Martin County West, Sherburn (28-5) vs. No. 5 Seed-Section 6-Ada-Borup (26-5): The No. 8-ranked Mavericks of Martin County West are making their third consecutive and sixth overall appearance. They placed sixth in 2013. Martin County West defeated Carlton 2-0 during the regular season. The Ada-Borup Cougars, who were No. 9 in the final coaches’ poll, lost in the consolation semifinals last year. This is their second consecutive and eighth overall appearance. Ada-Borup did not face any other qualifiers during the regular season. Martin County West and Ada-Borup are both still in the hunt for their first championship.

No. 2 Seed-Section 2-Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (26-9) vs. Section 5-Broweville (24-5): Tracy-Milroy-Balaton returns for its second appearance under this name. The Panthers made their one previous appearance and won their only championship in 2004. Milroy made two additional appearances in 1983 and 1984 and Tracy-Milroy made one additional appearance as a co-op with Walnut Grove in 1989. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton was the No. 4 team in the final coaches’ association poll this year. During the regular season the Panthers defeated Mayer Lutheran 2-0 and Carlton 2-0. The unranked Tigers of Browerville are making their second appearance, but first since 2005. The Tigers, who have never won a state title, did not face any other qualifiers during the regular season.

No. 3 Seed-Section 4-Mayer Lutheran (18-15) vs. Section 7-Carlton (27-5): These teams met during the regular season with Mayer Lutheran winning 3-0. The Crusaders of Mayer Lutheran return to tournament action after a two-year absence. This is their 11th appearance and they won one previous championship in 1982. In addition to Carlton, Mayer Lutheran lost to Bethlehem Academy twice, 3-0 and 2-0, and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 2-0. The Bulldogs of Carlton are making their second consecutive and fourth overall appearance. They bowed out in the consolation semifinals in 2013. In addition to Mayer Lutheran, the Bulldogs lost to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 2-0 and to Martin County West 2-0. Carlton is still searching for its first state title. Neither team was ranked in the final coaches’ poll.

Class AA Quarterfinal Highlights

All of the teams have previous tournament experience. There are no unblemished records in Class AA.

No. 1 Seed-Section 1-Stewartville (27-6) vs. Section 7-Mora (26-5): The Tigers of Stewartville, who were ranked No. 2 in the final coaches’ poll, return after a two-year hiatus. This is their 22nd appearance and they won previous titles in 1991, 1997, and 2000. During the regular season Stewartville defeated Thief River Falls 2-1. The unranked Mora Mustangs are making their third consecutive and fourth overall appearance. They lost in the consolation semifinals in 2013. Mora did not face any other qualifiers this season and is still looking for its first title.

No. 4 Seed-Section 4-Concordia Academy-Roseville (26-7) vs. No. 5 Seed-Section 5-Maple Lake (27-5): These teams met twice during the regular season with Concordia Academy-Roseville winning 1-1 (point spread) and 2-0. The No. 9-ranked Beacons of Concordia Academy-Roseville return to make their 11th appearance. They made their last appearance in 2008 and won previous championships in 1984 and 1987. During the regular season the Beacons also defeated Belle Plaine 2-0. The No. 6-ranked Maple Lake Irish are making their fourth consecutive and overall appearance. They lost in the consolation semifinals in 2013. In addition to facing Concordia Academy-Roseville, Maple Lake also defeated Rocori 2-0 during the regular season. The Irish are still looking for their first state title.

No. 2 Seed-Section 3-Marshall (23-9) vs. Section 8-Thief River Falls (23-9): The three-time defending champions from Marshall enter the tournament as the No. 3-ranked team in the final coaches’ association poll. They are making their 14th consecutive and 26th overall appearance. In addition to the past three years, the Tigers also won in 2004, 2007 and 2009. Marshall did not face any other qualifying teams this year. The unranked Thief River Falls Prowlers return to tournament action after a one year absence. This is their second appearance overall and they have never won a state championship. During regular-season play Thief River falls defeated Stewartville 2-1 and lost to Belle Plaine 2-0.

No. 3 Seed-Section 2-Belle Plaine (22-10) vs. Section 6-Rocori, Cold Spring (25-5): The No. 5-ranked Belle Plaine Tigers return to make their third consecutive and eighth overall appearance. They earned consolation honors last year. During the regular season Belle Plaine defeated Thief River Falls 2-0 and lost to Concordia Academy-Roseville 2-0. The unranked Spartans of Rocori are making their second appearance, but first since 1976. They lost to Maple Lake 2-0 during the regular season. Neither Belle Plaine nor Rocori has won a state title.

Class AAA Quarterfinal Highlights

There are no perfect records in Class AAA and Cambridge-Isanti is the only team making its debut appearance.

No. 1 Seed-Section 2-Chaska (27-3) vs. Section 8-Bemidji (19-11): The Hawks of Chaska are making their 16th appearance, but first since 2006. They tied for No. 1 in the final coaches poll and are in the hunt for their seventh title. They won previously in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2005, and 2006. During the regular season Chaska defeated Roseville Area 2-0, Champlin Park 2-0, and Eagan 2-1. The unranked Bemidji Lumberjacks return for their third appearance, but first since 2012. During the regular season Bemidji lost to Roseville Area 3-1 and to Champlin Park 2-0. The Lumberjacks have never won a state title.

No. 4 Seed-Section 4-Roseville Area (25-4) vs. No. 5 Seed-Section 5-Champlin Park (24-7): These teams met in the season-opener and Champlin Park won 3-0. The Roseville Area Raiders, who lost in the consolation semifinals last year, return for their third consecutive and fifth overall appearance. They were ranked No. 8 in the final coaches association poll and faced three other teams during the regular season. Roseville Area defeated Bemidji 3-1 and lost to Chaska 2-0 and to Eagan 2-0. Unranked Champlin Park is making its second appearance, but first since 2001. During the regular season the Rebels defeated Cambridge-Isanti 2-0 and Bemidji 2-0 and lost to Chaska 2-0. Both teams are still looking for their first championship.

No. 2 Seed-Section 6-Eden Prairie (27-3) vs. Section 1-Rochester Mayo (26-3): The Eden Prairie Eagles return for their third consecutive and fifth overall appearance. They were ranked No. 3 in this year’s final coaches association poll and are hoping to improve on last year’s fourth-place showing. During the regular season Eden Prairie defeated Cambridge-Isanti 2-0 and lost to Eagan 3-2. The unranked Rochester Mayo Spartans are making their second consecutive and fifth overall appearance. They claimed consolation honors in 2013. The Spartans faced one other tournament qualifier this year; they lost to Eagan 2-0. Neither team has won a state championship.

No. 3 Seed-Section 3-Eagan (24-5) vs. Section 7-Cambridge-Isanti (27-4): The defending champions from Eagan are making their second consecutive and 11th overall appearance. In addition to last year, the Wildcats also won titles in 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2003. Eagan, which was ranked No. 4 in the final poll, faced four other qualifiers this year. The Wildcats defeated Eden Prairie 3-2, Rochester Mayo 2-0, and Roseville Area 2-0. They lost to Chaska 2-1 in their final regular-season match. The unranked Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets are making their first tournament appearance. They lost to Eden Prairie 2-0 and to Champlin Park 2-0 during the regular season.

The Schedule

The tournament will be conducted on two courts at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The 2014 State Girls’ Volleyball Tournament will be played Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 6-8.

Quarterfinal matches for all three classes will be played Thursday, Nov. 6. Consolation semifinals and championship semifinals for all classes will be held Friday, Nov. 7.

On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Class A championship will be played at 1:00 p.m. on Court 1, the Class AA championship will be played at 3:00 p.m. on Court 2, and the Class AAA championship will be played at 5:00 p.m. on Court 1. Consolation title and third-place matches are also scheduled on Saturday.


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