ST. PAUL — Fosston started out strong.
Minneota finished even stronger.
Fosston’s bid for a championship ended Friday with a 3-1 loss to Minneota in the semifinal round of the Minnesota Class A high school volleyball tournament. Fosston won the opening set 25-23, but managed only 31 points the rest of the way as top-seeded Minneota won 25-14, 25-7, 25-10.
“We played a great first set,’’ Fosston coach Sarah Dryburgh said. “We wanted to come out strong. The girls did a nice job defending the court in the first set, with a lot of great digs, and our hitters were finding the open court.
“But every set is new. I think we got down more than we should have after losing the second set. It was hard to get the fire back. And Minneota never let up. They didn’t give us a chance to get it back.’’
Fosston won a close opening set in which neither team led by more than two points. The Greyhounds finished on a 4-1 run. Taylor Kroening broke a 23-23 tie with a kill and Emma Drellack had set point on a kill.
But Minneota took control early in the final three sets. It went on a 7-0 run to go up 12-4 in the second and Fosston got no closer than six the rest of the set. Minneota scored the first five points of the third set and never trailed. In the final set, five straight Minneota points gave it a 10-3 lead.
“We were playing well at the start,’’ Dryburgh said. “But we started struggling to get our passes on target, so we struggled running our offense. The passing, setting and hitting all got a little lax. We seemed to be on our heels after the first set.
“Minneota made it hard to cover the floor. They were working the court sideline to sideline and they ran a quick offense. That’s the best team we’ve played.’’
Drellack’s 14 kills paced Fosston, with Kroening adding eight. Kora Norland had 33 assists. Naomi Swanson led the defense with 19 digs. “Naomi did a nice job on defense,’’ Dryburgh said. “She’s been working hard this tournament. We’ve done a lot of digging.’’
Four Minneota hitters had double-figure kill totals, led by Natalee Rolbrecki with 17.
Fosston will play Medford in the third-place match at 11 a.m. Saturday.