Albany and ROCORI Volleyball

Albany and ROCORI Volleyball team In-Section Championships

Sauk Rapids, [06-11-2023] – In a series of unforeseen upsets, the top-seeded Albany and ROCORI volleyball teams faced defeat in their respective section championships, a stunning twist of fate that left fans and players alike in disbelief.

Albany and ROCORI Volleyball Section Championships

Team Record Section Championship Result Comments
Albany 25-4 Section 6-2A Lost to Pequot Lakes Albany was upset in the Section 6-2A championship by two-seed Pequot Lakes. Albany beat Pequot Lakes twice during the regular season.
ROCORI 26-4 Section 8-3A Lost to Detroit Lakes ROCORI lost to two-seed Detroit Lakes in the Section 8-3A title game. The match went to five sets.
Kimball 14-13 Section 5-2A Lost to Maple Lake Kimball lost to Maple Lake 3-1 in their only meeting this year.
Holdingford N/A Section 6-2A Lost to Albany Holdingford lost to Albany in the quarterfinal match on Oct. 31.

Albany’s Unanticipated Loss in Section 6-2A Championship

The Albany volleyball team (25-4), boasting an impressive regular-season record, was poised for section championship glory. Having previously defeated Pequot Lakes (27-5) twice during the regular season, optimism was high among Albany’s supporters. In the championship held in Sauk Rapids, Albany won the first game with a narrow 28-26 victory, setting the stage for what appeared to be another triumphant evening. However, the narrative took an unexpected turn.

Pequot Lakes showcased remarkable resilience, storming back to secure convincing victories of 25-19 and 25-10 in the second and third games. Albany fought hard in the fourth set, but it eventually slipped from their grasp with a 26-24 loss. Albany coach Brian Hines praised Pequot Lakes as “a very, very good team” after the match. He acknowledged the outstanding skills of Pequot Lakes’ players, emphasizing their tough serves and the guidance of their exceptional coach, Christine Ganley.

Despite the loss, Albany’s junior standout, Hannah Klein, delivered a stellar performance with 25 kills and 16 digs. Her classmate, Ellery Ehresmann, was instrumental in setting up those kills, amassing 46 assists during the match. Paige Lauer led the team with 22 digs. Lauer, Ehresmann, and Klein were all named to the all-section team.

Coach Brian Hines received well-deserved recognition as the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Section Coach of the Year, highlighting his unwavering commitment and strategic leadership throughout the season.

ROCORI’s Hard-Fought Battle in Section 8-3A Championship

For the ROCORI volleyball team (26-4), the Section 8-3A championship held against Detroit Lakes (25-7) was a fierce battle. After losing the first game 25-17, the Spartans made a resilient comeback, winning the second set 25-22. The teams traded games once more, with ROCORI losing the third game 25-20 but bouncing back to win the fourth set 25-21. In the deciding set, the Spartans fell short with a 15-11 defeat.

Coach Heidi Willenbring, whose leadership led ROCORI to the championship match after beating Becker (10-13) in the semifinals, stressed the importance of a fast start for her team. She noted that getting into the groove early was essential to keep the players relaxed and focused.

Despite the heart-wrenching loss, the Spartans’ remarkable progress under Coach Willenbring’s tutelage was evident. They won ten more matches in her first year as head coach compared to the previous season and, remarkably, only lose two starting seniors: hitter Ava Stalboerger and setter Ava Hirschfeld. Stalboerger expressed the team’s long-standing goal of reaching the championship, having faced playoff challenges in previous years.

albany and ROCORI Volleyball Sectional Insights

In Section 5-2A, Kimball (14-13) faced a 3-1 loss against Maple Lake (16-12), with junior Ellie Becker contributing 15 kills and senior Allison Leither adding 10. Holdingford (18-10) displayed a strong performance in Section 6-2A, winning 3-0 against Albany in the quarterfinals.

Section 8-3A vs Section 8-4A

Meanwhile, in Section 8-4A, Sartell (23-6), the third seed, fell victim to the remarkable run of seven-seed Bemidji (14-14). Bemidji opened the tournament with a stunning victory over one of the top seeds, St. Michael-Albertville (18-11), in four games. This Cinderella story led them to the championship against the other side of the bracket’s one seed, Rogers (26-3).

In the semifinals on October 31, Sartell pushed Bemidji in the first set, with a 26-24 score. However, Bemidji demonstrated their resilience by winning the next two sets with scores of 25-17 and 25-22, securing their place in the championship match. Sartell’s senior standout, Abby Haus, delivered a remarkable performance with 12 kills, 20 digs, and 2 aces. Grace Schulte showcased her versatility with 23 assists and 6 kills, and senior Aubrey Flynn demonstrated her prowess with 24 digs.

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