The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 7, 2013

Fergus Falls tops Belle Plaine in 5

Tigers still alive in Class AA volleyball tourney

ST. PAUL — The goal of the Belle Plaine volleyball team was to return to the state tournament and improve on last season's fourth-place finish.

With that goal now impossible, coach Cassie Koch said the Tigers need to re-adjust that goal.

"We can still do better," Kocah said after Thursday's 3-2 loss to Fergus Falls. "We went 1-2 last year, and we can still go 2-1 this time. I really proud of the girls and the way they fought til the end.

Fergus Falls outlasted No. 4-seeded Belle Plaine 26-28, 25-19, 25-14, 19-25, 15-9 in the Class AA quarterfinals at Excel Energy Center.

"We're still happy to be at state," senior MaryKay Nasby said. "Crazy, so exciting to be here. It still sucks to lose, but they were a good team and we weren't up for it."

In the opening set, Belle Plaine led 11-6 and 22-17 before Fergus Falls rallied, scoring seven of nine points to draw even at 24. Amara Meyer's kill put Belle Plaine at set point, but Fergus Falls scored two straight to get to set point.

Mariena Hayden made her sixth kill of the set to start the final run, and her next kill ended things at 28-26.

Hayden had two kills as Belle Plaine led 5-4 in the seocnd set, but the Otters took the lead for good at 10-9 on a serving error. The Tigers were able to pull within 16-14.

However, Fergus Falls had six ace attacks in the game-ending 9-3 run to even the match.

As was the case all match, Fergus Falls started quickly, leading 4-2. But then the Otters reeled off a 13-1 run, blocking every offensive attack and slamming every ball at the Belle Plaine defense.

Fergus Falls kept attacking the frustrated Tigers, ending things at 25-14. A late 6-1 run, with a kill and block by Hayden and two kills by Emily Vinkemeier, kept it from being the most lopsided set loss of the season for Belle Plaine.

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