PREP VOLLEYBALL: Tigers among undefeated at Southwest Minn. Challenge

MARSHALL – While 32 volleyball teams hit the court Friday for the 8th Annual Molten Southwest Minnesota Challenge at Marshall High School and Southwest Minnesota State University, only eight of those teams remained undefeated after the first two rounds of competition.

Going 2-0, even on Day 1 isn’t an easy task since 15 of the teams are currently state-ranked. A number of other teams also have a winning history.

Tournament host Marshall, ranked No. 1 in Class AA, was one of the eight teams to reach the Championship bracket. The Tigers quickly dispatched Canby by scores of 25-8 and 25-4 before handling Totino Grace 25-13, 25-15.

“I thought Canby came out and competed hard,” Marshall head coach Dan Westby said. “We kind of took a while to get going. I thought we played with more focus in the second set and that was good to see. And again, we were able to get a lot of kids in and that’s always a good thing.”

Kenzie Beekman hammered down eight kills against the Lancers, while Callie Graff added four. Beekman was also 7-for-8 with an ace at the serving line, while Sydney Griffin was 12-for-13 with an ace. Griffin also contributed a team-high 10 set assists and five digs. Rachel Sanow went 9-for-9 behind the serving line with an ace.

“We served very well, especially in that second set,” Westby said. “Kenzie Beekman went back and put together a nice string. Rachel did, too. Both those kids, when they come out ready to play, they really have a difficult serve for people to handle.”

In Marshall’s second-round matchup, Totino Grace jumped out to a 3-1 lead. After Beekman pounded down a kill and chipped in an ace serve to knot the match, Marah Mulso added a kill to give the Tigers a 5-4 edge. Behind strong serving from Lexi Saugstad, Marshall pushed its lead to 19-9 before closing out the set 25-13 on a tip from Mulso.

The Tigers stormed out to a 7-0 lead in the second set before Eagles earned a kill to get on the board. After stretching the lead to 19-10, Marshall eventually closed out the set 25-15.

The Tigers will take on Champlin Park, currently ranked No. 13 in Class AAA, at 10:45 a.m. today at MHS.

“One of the things we told the kids before the tournament started is that we have to play hard for five matches in a row because each step we take in this tournament is going to get more difficult,” Westby said. “There’s a lot of good competition here.”

Marshall won the Southwest Challenge in 2009, but since then, Lakeville North has walked away with the tournament title. Lakeville North, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, will join Marshall and Champlin Park in the Champion bracket, as will Wayzata (Class AAA No. 8), Waconia (Class AAA No. 16), Chaska (Class AAA No. 2), Kasson-Mantorville and Sioux Falls Roosevelt (S.D.).

Competing in the 9th- to 16th-place bracket, Class A No. 3 Minneota will take on Owatonna at 9:30 a.m. today at MHS. The Vikings whipped Bloomington Jefferson 25-10, 25-13 Friday before falling 14-25, 25-19, 15-11 to Wayzata.

“In our first match, we blocked well and had good balance on our attacks,” Minneota head coach Steph Hennen said. “We also had eight ace serves, so we served well, too.”

Molly Hennen contributed eight kills, 11 digs and two ace blocks for the Vikings, while Taylor Reiss added seven kills, nine digs and two ace blocks. Megan Larson recorded 20 sets assists and was 6-for-6 with three aces at the serving line.

Steph Hennen was pleased with her team’s play in the first set against Wayzata, but was a little disappointed that the team didn’t execute as well in the next two sets against the Trojans.

“I thought we started out really strong, but Wayzata made a couple of adjustments that we didn’t really respond to,” she said. “They have a really good outside hitter and she sees the floor pretty good. They also had a right side that put up a nice block.”

Reiss tallied 13 kills and nine digs in the match, while Molly Hennen chipped in with 12 kills and 12 digs. Larson earned 31 set assists and was 7-for-8 with four aces from behind the serving line.

Russell-Tyler-Ruthton went 1-1 on Day 1 and will play in the 17th- to 24th-place bracket today. The Knights open with East Ridge at 10:45 a.m. at SMSU. RTR gave Chaska a run, but eventually fell 27-25, 25-17.

“We came so close to beating Chaska, and that felt good,” RTR head coach TJ Williams said. “I don’t know, though, if we were playing really good or if they were playing down. But I don’t think they were expecting us to be as scrappy as we were.”

In the second round on Friday, the Knights defeated West Fargo (N.D.) in three sets (25-23, 23-25, 15-11).

“We played hard all day,” Williams said. “We played that third set like we played the fifth sets last year. We played stronger in that fifth set, so we took that mentality into it. And instead of playing in the worst bracket like we did last year, the worst we can finish is 24th. That’s a step in the right direction.”

In the 25th- to 32nd-place bracket at SMSU, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton will take on Canby at 9:30 a.m. today, while Yellow Medicine East will matchup against Eastview at 9:30 a.m.

TMB was handed its first loss of the season by Lakeville South. The Panthers fell 25-17, 25-18. Kassidy Przymus, Gabbie Gervais and Sydney Lanoue each recorded four kills for TMB, while Anna Peterson and Sammie Gervais added seven digs apiece. Przymus led the Panthers at the serving line, going 7-for-7 with an ace. Jessie Nelson chipped in with three kills and one ace block.

TMB lost its second match, falling 25-11, 25-13 against St. Michael-Albertville. Sammie Gervais and Lanoue led the offense with three kills apiece, while Przymus, Gabbie Gervais and Sara Stoneberg each added two. Peterson collected nine digs, while Sammie Gervais and Przymus each had an ace serve.


Marshall25 25

Canby 8 4

Serving (good-att-aces): Sydney Griffin 12-13-1, Kenzie Beekman 7-8-1, Rachel Sanow 9-9-1

Kills: Beekman 8, Callie Graff 4

Digs: Griffin 5, Hannah Bennett 3, Steph Baker 3

Set Assists: Griffin 10, Sanow 4

Blocks: Graff 1, Marah Mulso 1

Marshall25 25

Totino-Grace13 15

Serving (good-att-aces): Griffin 12-13-1, Lexi Saugstad 11-12-1

Kills: Beekman13, Griffin 6

Digs: Beekman 10, Sanow 6, Bennett 6

Set Assists: Sanow 14, Griffin 11

Blocks: Saugstad 1, Graff 1, Beekman 1


Minneota25 25

Bloomington Jefferson10 13

Kills: Molly Hennen 8, Taylor Reiss 7, Shelby Corbin 5

Serving (att-good-aces): Payton Boerboom 12-13-2, Reiss 0-12-2, Megan Larson 6-6-3, Henen 9-10-1

Digs: Hennen 11, Reiss 9

Blocks: Reiss 2, Hennen 2, Kelsey Maeyaert 1, Krista Maeyaert 1, Corbin 1

Set Assists: Larson 20

Minneota25 19 11

Wayzata14 25 25

Kills: Reiss 13, Hennen 12, Shelby 5

Serving (att-good-aces): Hennen 10-10-1, Larsen 7-8-4, Boerboom 7-8-0, Corbin 7-9-2, Reiss 7-9-0

Digs: Molly 12, Taylor 9, Shelby 8

Blocks: Reiss 1

Set Assists: Larson 31


TMB17 18

Lakeville South25 25

Serving (att-good-aces): Kassidy Przymus 7-7-1, Sammie Gervais 7-8-0, Sara Stoneberg 6-6-0, Anna Peterson 6-6-0

Kills: Przymus 4, Gabbie Gervais 4, Sydney Lanoue 4, Jessie Nelson 3

Digs: Peterson 7, S. Gervais 7

Set Assists: G. Gervais 11

Blocks: Lanoue 1, Nelson 1

TMB11 13

STMA25 25

Serving (att-good-aces): S. Gervais 7-7-1, Przymus 4-4-1, G. Gervais 4-4-0, Stoneberg 4-4-0

Kills: S. Gervais 3, Lanoue 3, G. Gervais 2, Przymus 2, Stoneberg 2

Digs: Peterson 9, Stoneberg 4

Set Assists: G. Gervais 16

Blocks: Nelson 1


Friday’s Results




Totino Grace 2525

Hutchinson 1522

Lakeville South2525


St. Michael-Albertville1621

Champlin Park2525

Lakeville North2525

YME 9 4

Jamestown ND232513


Kasson-Mantorville 2525

Perham 720

Fergus Falls 2525

Eastview 1916

Minneota 2525

Bloomington Jefferson 1013

Wayzata 2525

BBE 1214

Waconia 2525

Southwestern United 2322

Owatonna 2525

Andover 1219

West Fargo N.D.1314

New Prague 2525

Chaska 2725

RTR 2517

Sioux Falls Roosevelt 2525

LeSeuer Henderson 1613

Burnsville 251915

East Ridge 152513


Marshall 2525

Totino Grace 1316

Lakeville South 2322

Champlin Park 2525

Lakeville North 2526

Northfield 1224


Fergus Falls25156

Canby 2617

Hutchinson 2825


STMA 2525


Jamestown N.D.2525








New Prague1414

SF Roosevelt252315


Bloomington Jefferson1918


Southwest United1927


West Fargo ND232511


LeSueur Henderson1820

East Ridge2525