The Minneota Vikings won their first State Championship in volleyball, defeating defending champ Bethlehem Academy 3-1 in a rematch of last yearís final. The victory adds an exclamation point to a program that has been on the rise since the start of the decade. Minneota placed second in 2001 and 2005, and had State appearances in 2002 and 2003.
The Cardinals dug themselves a hole early in game one quickly falling behind 8-3. A timeout was called to put a stop to Minneotaís rally, but the Vikings responded by increasing their lead to eight, 14-6. With no timeoutís left in the first game, the Cardinals had to weather another Viking storm, this on pushed the score to 24-10.
After an attack error, Bethlehem got the serve back in Liz Schlobohmís hands. The Cardinals then reeled off the next 12 points to pull within one, 24-23. It wasnít to be, however, as the Vikings took the next point and the game.
Game two started out with both teams trying to capture the swaying momentum. The Cardinals just couldnít string together a run of points and Minneota pulled away to a 21-15 lead. Schlobohm got the serve again and the Bethlehem crowd got louder as the Cardinals scored back-to-back points. Minneota had an answer this time and took game two by a score of 25-17.
Game three was played much like game two, except the roles were reversed. This time the Cardinals pulled ahead to a 23-14 lead. A little rally by Minneota pushed Bethlehem but the Cardinals finally pushed back and took game three 25-21.
After responding so well in game three, the Cardinals looked poised to make this a five-game match. Unfortunately, Bethlehem fell behind 8-3 and had to play catch-up against a team that couldnít be caught. Minneota seemed to have all of the defensive answers against a very good Cardinal offense, while Bethlehem could not solve Steph Boulton and the Viking offense.
M-25 25 21 25---3
B- 23 17 25 19---1
Minneota (Kills-aces-blocks) - S. Boulton 19-3-0, C. Kopfmann 14-0-2, A. Buysse 11-2-2, S. Hennen 10-0-4, L. Fadness 4-1-2, H. Hennen 1-0-2 (Total 59-6-6)
Assists - H. Hennen 47
Digs - H. Hennen 26, B. Minnehan 21, A. Buysse 16, L. Fadness 12, S. Boulton 10
Bethlehem Academy (Kills-aces-blocks) - H. Hafemeyer 17-0-9, L. Slinger 12-0-1, S. Von Ruden 5-0-2, S. Meschke 4-0-2, K. Nass 3-0-1, L. Schlobohm 3-0-2, B DeGrood 2-1-0, K. Howell 0-1-0 (Total 46-3-10)
Assists - K. Nass 33Digs - S. Von Ruden 22, N. Pothen 15, L. Schlobohm 15, K. Nass 15, B. DeGrood 11