Stewartville Gets Revenge
Last year in the Class AA final at the Xcel Energy Center
in St. Paul, the Tigers from Stewartville were denied a fourth State Championship losing a fifth game heartbreaker to Lake of the Woods 16-14.
This year the two schools squared off in the first round of the State playoffs, but the atmosphere made it feel like a Saturday night final.
Lake of the Woods, the Section eight representative, had a lot of good things going for them coming into the tournament. In their Section semifinal the Bears knocked off number one ranked Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 3-2, then capped off the weekend with a shutout of Wadena-Deer Creek to earn their fourth trip to State, all since 2001.
Stewartville, on the other hand, was expected to be here. The Tigers have won 20 of the last 21 Hiawatha Valley League Conference titles. They have won their section 17 times, including a 13 year run from 1989-2001, and have been crowned State champs three times (91, 97, 00). Put it this way: when school starts, hotel reservations are made for a November vacation. Tradition, however, does not win any matches at the X.
In game one, the score was tied at eight until the Bears started giving the Tigers a two-for-one deal. Quickly, the score got out of hand and Stewartville took the 1-0 lead. Game two was close all the way, even needing an extra point from the Bears to tie the match at one game apiece.
Game three was the hardest fought game of the night, with neither team getting more than a three point lead at any point in the frame. Stewartville took game three by the thinnest of margins, 25-23. Game four saw the Tigers take the momentum and run with it, getting out to a 7-2 lead. The Bears fought back to tie it up at 15, but Stewartville scored 10 of the next 13 points to take the game and the match.
S-25 25 25 25 3
L-16 27 23 18 1
S-Alex Nold 14, Amanda Thompson 12 S-Leigh Splittstoesser 4, Laura Hoover 3
L-Carlie Waibel 15, Nicole Olson 12 L-Carlie Waibel 2, Teresa Slick 1
S-Amanda Thompson 6 S-Leigh Splittstoesser 40
L-Nicole Olson 6 L-Courtney Bitter 37
S-Vanessa Lawrenz 22, Julie Rainey 22
L-Carlie Waibel 21