Prep volleyball playoffs: Sauk Centre sweeps Albany for sub-section title

Prep volleyball playoffs: Sauk Centre sweeps Albany for sub-section title

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Prep volleyball playoffs: Sauk Centre sweeps Albany for sub-section title

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SAUK RAPIDS

It was trophy time. Win the North Sub-Section 6-2A title and get one.

Shoot, take second and you get one, too … with medals.

In case anyone was wondering whether a sub-section title was big for the Sauk Centre Mainstreeters, all anyone had to do was check out the post-match ceremony Thursday night at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.

Yes, the 30-0 Mainstreeters were really pleased with their 3-0 win over Albany.

Coach Jim Klaphake passed out so many hugs during the awards ceremony you’d have thought it was a wedding reception.

“We play every game like it’s our last one,” Sauk Centre senior hitter Macy Weller said.

It could have been, not that the Mainstreeters seemed worried.

“They came out hard,” Albany senior libero Cassie Shaver said.

“They’re a real good team,” Huskies senior Kristen Buttweiler added.

The Mainstreeters are enjoying the moment.

They will not take their unbeaten season and third straight subsection championship that went with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-21 win over Albany for granted.

Sauk Centre, ranked fourth in the state in Class 2A, plays for the Section 6-2A championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at the College of St. Benedict’s Claire Lynch Hall in St. Joseph.

The Mainstreeters play Dassel-Cokato, the South Sub-Section 6-2A champion.

“It sounds like one of those darn clichés, but we don’t look at our record, we don’t look at their record, we don’t worry about Saturday or tomorrow or yesterday, we just worry about today,” Klaphake said.

“When we beat Melrose (Tuesday), we said, ‘Enjoy tonight. Then concentrate on Albany. And that’s what we did.”

Albany (24-6), whose losses were to four state-ranked teams and Jordan (a 2011 state entrant), played tough and hard.

The Huskies rallied from a 7-1 deficit to take a 21-19 lead in game one, then saw the steady Mainstreeters rally for the win.

“Our offense is a real aggressive one,” Albany head coach Annette Brewer said. “Because of the way we play, we do make some mistakes.

“That’s the deal. They (the Mainstreeters) keep the ball in play and hope you make mistakes.”

Albany didn’t make a lot, but it was just enough.

“They (the Huskies) have a really scrappy defense,” Sauk Centre senior setter Jena Klaphake said. “They pick a lot of stuff up.”

In game two, Albany tied it up at 2-2 and then Sauk Centre led the whole way. In game three, Sauk Centre took an 11-4 lead and held on.

“We did a really good job playing the ball up tonight,” said Weller, who confirmed she is headed to St. Cloud State to play volleyball next year. “We’re a short team. We need to be really scrappy and athletic in order to win.”

That’s what they did. Weller and the head coach both credited Brianna VonWahlde with playing an outstanding game.

She had seven kills, third-best on the team behind Weller (15 kills, 6 blocks) and Ashley Kollman (11 kills).

Jena Klaphake had 37 set assists. Katie Reitsma, the ‘Streeters’ libero, had 18 kills, many of them seemingly impossible to stop.

“Brianna VonWahlde had the game of her life tonight,” Weller said.

For Albany, Callie Manthe had 12 kills and Buttweiler had 10. Amazih Eickhoff added seven ckills and Sam Schlangen had 29 set assists. Shaver and Alyssa Stangler each had 11 digs.

“We came really far,” Shaver said. “We’d have liked to go farther. But I think we did really well this year.”

With the medals being awarded, Klaphake hugged every one of his players, with the biggest for his daughter, Jena. They enjoyed Thursday, for sure.

Now the thoughts turn to Saturday.

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