MINN. SECTION 8 VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Win-E-Mac heads back to state tournament
CROOKSTON -- Bigger was better for Win-E-Mac. The Patriots had a big height advantage Saturday night against Fosston. That translated into a quicker offense as Win-E-Mac beat the Greyhounds 25-14, 25-13, 25-21 in the championship match of the Sec...
CROOKSTON -- Bigger was better for Win-E-Mac.
The Patriots had a big height advantage Saturday night against Fosston. That translated into a quicker offense as Win-E-Mac beat the Greyhounds 25-14, 25-13, 25-21 in the championship match of the Section 8 high school volleyball tournament.
It was a repeat title for Win-E-Mac, which advances to this week's state tournament in the Twin Cities.
"I felt our style matched up well against Fosston,'' Win-E-Mac coach Lynette Kaster said. "We run a fast offense. They have smaller blockers. With our faster offense, we felt we could get more one-on-one situations and, with our height advantage, hit over their blockers.''
Fosston didn't have anybody taller than 5-feet-10 in its lineup. Win-E-Mac countered with 5-11 Shelby Kaster (8 kills, 1 block), 6-1 Olivia Kaster (9 kills, 3 blocks) and 6-1 setter Erica Handley (9 kills, 2 blocks as well as 25 assists).
The height "is a huge advantage,'' Lynette Kaster said. "Our middles aren't short. Neither is our setter. And they jump well. In the section, we're one of the taller teams. It's been an advantage all year.''
Win-E-Mac jumped to strong starts in each of the first two games, including six unanswered points to open the second.
But Fosston forced the Patriots into a come-from-behind situation in the third game, taking leads of 8-2 and 9-4. But a 6-0 run served by Megan Olson, which included a pair of aces, rallied the Patriots back to a 10-9 lead. Fosston still held narrow leads until a block by Olivia Kaster put Win-E-Mac ahead to stay at 19-18.
"A big block is like a big hit. You get pumped up after either one of them,'' said the senior, who has more than 100 blocks this season.
Cortney Strom's nine kills led the Fosston attack, with Tara Evje adding seven.
The Greyhounds were coming back after beating Lake of the Woods in the East subsection championship Friday, snapping a run of three straight seasons in which Lake of the Woods beat Fosston in the East final.
"That was a huge win for us,'' Fosston coach Sarah Dryburgh said. "Lake of the Woods is a team we haven't been able to beat for quite awhile. We were hoping we could ride that momentum into tonight.
"But Win-E-Mac is a good team. They came out strong. We've been the team doing that all year. But I was proud of how we came back in the third game.''
Fosston closed with a 20-12-1 record, while Win-E-Mac takes a 29-3-1 record to state.