PREP VOLLEYBALL: Panthers sweep Rebels in South

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton defeated Murray County Central to claim the Class A Section South championship in a 25-21, 25-20, 25-19, three set victory Thursday at Southwest Minnesota State University.

“I was honestly surprised,” TMB head coach Katie Gervais said. “I thought it would go to five for sure.”

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton was the No. 1 seed coming into the match after beating Southwest Minnesota Christian Tuesday night.

Murray County Central, the No. 3 seed, came off a 3-2 upset over Southwestern United. “We felt ready,” said MCC head coach Kati Bobeldyk, “We were really excited to be here and to have made it this far.”

The Panthers took the lead early in the first set with Jessie Nelson picking up a huge kill to earn the first point of the night. Sydney Lanoue and Kassidy Przymus knocked down two blocks, hindering the MCC offense and giving TMB an 11-5 advantage.

MCC leveled the score after the Panthers struggled to put together a play offensively. Lindsey Barritt sparked the Rebels offense, picking-up two kills but it wasn’t enough to keep the Panthers from closing out the set 25-21.

“Our intensity and our energy was down from the get go,” Bobeldyk said.

Both teams had a hard time keeping the ball in bounds in the second set as the score became an 8-8 stalemate. A kill from Lanoue and Sara Stoneberg set the momentum for the Panthers, keeping them just out of arm’s reach of the Rebels. TMB took the set 25-20.

With a two set advantage the Panthers started the third set strong, taking an early 8-4 lead behind kills from Sammie Gervais, Przymus and Nelson.

We struggled a little bit at first,” Coach Gervais said. “But I think we got more consistent and we got all our hitters involved.”

Kristi Bose, who was shut down most of the game, battled back hard, picking-up five kills.

“They couldn’t get Bose involved,” Coach Gervais said. “Had they gotten her involved more, it may have been a different story.”

Nelson answered back, picking up two final kills with assists from Gabbie Gervais, securing a 25-19 victory.

The Rebels finish the season with a 17-5 record and will graduate nine seniors from their starting squad. “Nine is huge number to lose,” Bobeldyk said. “We have some big shoes to fill next season.”

The Panthers (21-12) will advance to the Class A Section 3 championship match against Minneota at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“All the pressure is on them,” Coach Gervais said. “Our girls just want to play and play hard.”

MCC21 20 19

TMB25 25 25

Serving (good-sets-aces) – TMB (Sara Stoneberg 15-16-3, Anna Peterson 16-17-0, Sydney Lanoue 7-8-1, Gabbie Gervais 11-12-1) MCC(McKenzie Schmitz 10-10-1, Jade Giese 13-13-0, Paris Thomas 11-11-0).

Kills – TMB (Jessie Nelson 10, Lanoue 9, Sammie Gervais 7, Kassidy Przymus 6).

Digs – TMB (Peterson 13, Przymus 12) MCC(Kristi Bose 11, Lindsey Barritt 7).

Set Assists – TMB (G. Gervais 30) MCC (Thomas 12, Giese 11).

Blocks – TMB (S. Gervais 2, Lanoue 1) MCC (Barritt 3, Schmitz 1, Bose 1, Sierra Van Iperen 1).