With three players dominating at the net, Sacred Heart came up one win shy of a berth in the Minnesota Class A state high school volleyball tournament last season.
Sacred Heart hopes to make another run at the section title with a more balanced attack.
Sacred Heart (26-4), after a first-round bye, hosts a second-round match Thursday in the 8A tournament against the winner of the Goodridge-Grygla vs. Red Lake Falls first-round match.
“I think we can make a similar run as last year,’’ Eagles coach Emily Vonasek said. “We have a more diverse offense this year.’’
Jessica Remer was the big graduation loss at the net from last season. Ivy Edwards (288 kills this esason) and Maddi Mitzel (247 kills) were a strong one-two hitting punch returning.
Kyra Majors (128 kills), Sydney Lloyd (126 kills) and Bella Knudson (69 kills) have provided veteran setter Dana Walski (701 assists) more hitting options.
“We replaced Jess with a more balanced offense,’’ Vonasek said. “Teams knew where our sets were going last year -- it was usually Jess, Ivy or Maddi. Ivy and Maddi are our most consistent hitters. But we’ve got other weapons. And Dani is a big part of it. She’s a good setter.’’
Passing has been an inconsistent area. “It’s something we work on all the time but, like any team, our passing has its ups and downs,’’ Vonasek said.
Wave count on defense
No East Grand Forks Senior High regular hitter stands taller than 5-foot-8. Without imposing size, the Green Wave count on defense heading into the Section 8AA tournament. The 7-19 Wave take the No. 6 seed from the north subsection into Wednesday’s opening round.
“We have to keep playing defense the way we’ve been playing,’’ Senior High coach Paula Devine said. “That’s what has kept us in games. If we can do that, getting some upset wins isn’t out of the realm of possibility.’’
The most consistent back-row players of late have been Kasumi Lee (311 digs), Kylie Stauss (248 digs) and Brooke Boman (143 digs). “They’re very smart, very scrappy players,’’ Devine said. “And they’re quick. They go after everything.’’
Leading the Wave hitters have been Kendra Emery (159 kills), Jessie Helgeland (150 kills) and Oksana Kroese (90 kills).
State on line for EGF runners
East Grand Forks Senior High runners Tyson Mahar, Cole Nowacki and Jonathan Krueger have had dominant cross country seasons. Whether that will be enough to earn the Green Wave team a return trip to the Minnesota Class A state meet will be determined Friday.
The Section 8A meet will be Friday in Bagley at 4 p.m. The top two teams and top seven runners on non-advancing teams qualify for state.
Mahar and Nowacki both were in the top 12 in the latest state coaches rankings. They’ve consistently been top-five finishers in races, with Krueger consistently placing in the top 10.
“We do have some top enders,’’ Wave coach Kirk Miskialek said. “It’s fun to see the reaction of fans, like, ‘Where did this team come from?’ We think we have a chance to get to state. But our 4-5 runners will have to run really well to get that.
“Our girls are in the same boat as the boys. It will come down to depth.’’
Lydia Floden, Marin Garrett and Kassidy Allard have been the top Senior High girls runners.