Minnesota state Class A volleyball: 1-2 punch at the net

BAUDETTE, Minn. -- Ali Hasbargen remembers listening to Lake of the Woods volleyball matches at the Minnesota state tournament when she was in junior high. She wanted a similar opportunity.

BAUDETTE, Minn. -- Ali Hasbargen remembers listening to Lake of the Woods volleyball matches at the Minnesota state tournament when she was in junior high. She wanted a similar opportunity.

"I wanted to play at state, too -- that was a big thing for me then," the senior said. "It's pretty crazy. Getting to state just one time was a big honor. To do it three times, it's awesome."

The Bears will make their second straight trip to the state high school tournament and fourth in the past five seasons when they meet Deer River at 3 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinal round in the Twin Cities. Seniors Hasbargen and Ashley Feldman are the two big hitters for the Bears. They probably won't have tournament jitters, not with their backgrounds.

Hasbargen, a regular since she was a freshman, will be making her third trip to the state tournament. Feldman will be making her fourth trip to the state volleyball tournament, sitting on the bench as an eighth-grader and moving into the regular rotation as a freshman.

"It's kind of amazing," Feldman said. "It seems like a lot of schools get to state maybe once every 20 years. For us, it's been almost every year. And the one year we didn't make it in volleyball, our basketball team made it to state.


"You never expect this. Going now is just as exciting as the first time we went. I don't think it ever gets old."

Feldman and Hasbargen have been big contributors to the success of the 23-7 team.

The 6-foot-2 Feldman paces the Bears with 342 kills and 96 solo blocks. She scored the 1,000th kill of her career late in the regular season. The 5-11 Hasbargen has 177 kills and 74 blocks.

"We have other strong hitters, but Ashley and Ali are both go-to types," Lake of the Woods coach Jill Olson said. "Ashley is just so powerful, and she picks her spots so well. She's a very smart hitter. Ali hits well and does a good job of mixing up her shots. And she's tough to defend because she's a left-handed hitter."

Both middle hitters say their height is a definite advantage. "But strength has a lot to do with it, and timing and how high you can jump," Hasbargen said. "They all make a difference. Look at Holland; she's a very good hitter."

Holland Johnson, a 5-6 senior outside hitter, is the Bears' No. 3 hitter, right behind Hasbargen with 170 kills.

Shelby Nosan adds 122 kills in a lineup that has balance to go with Feldman and Hasbargen.

The Bears have either Feldman or Hasbargen at the net, but they're never there at the same time. If they were both at the net, "I think it would be very intimidating for other teams," Hasbargen said. "We'd have some big wallops. But it's better the way it's set up now. We have a nice balance."


Said Olson: "We need help from all the kids. Holland has been really strong, too. And Jess (Marken, LOW's senior setter) does such a nice job of mixing up her sets, going to different girls."

Two dominant hitters, an experienced setter and balance at the net -- those are ingredients the Bears hope will help them bid for the program's first state championship since 2005. Feldman was an eighth-grader, sitting on the bench, on that team.

"Ashley's got the experience of winning a state tournament," Hasbargen said. "We all want to get that really, really bad."

Lake of the Woods

at a glance

Record: 23-7, Section 8A champion.

State quarterfinal match: Lake of the Woods vs. Deer River, 3 p.m. Thursday, Twin Cities Xcel Center.

Bears coach: Jill Olson.


Bears regular lineup: Sr. S Jessica Marken (743 assists, 20 service aces, 195 digs); sr. MH Ashley Feldman (342 kills, 39 service aces, 112 digs, 96 blocks); sr. MH Ali Hasbargen (177 kills, 55 service aces, 113 digs, 74 blocks); jr. OH Shelby Nosan (122 kills, 64 service aces, 297 digs); sr. OH Holland Johnson (170 kills, 32 service aces, 311 digs); soph. RH Ally Moeller (46 kills, 52 service aces, 158 digs); sr. libero Heather Stanton (330 digs).

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
What To Read Next
Girls basketball
Thompson is now 16-1, while Rugby falls to 15-2.
Featuring prep basketball results from throughout the region, area college basketball scores, boys and girls hockey results, and much more!
The league would launch in summer 2024 and is polling interest in possible host cities.