The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 9, 2012

Belle Plaine falls 3-1 in state semifinals

The Free Press

ST. PAUL — The members of the Belle Plaine volleyball team knew they would have to play a near-perfect match Friday if they were going to upset No. 1 seed Marshall in the semifinals of the Class AA state tournament.

They played well, but they weren’t perfect, and the result was a 3-1 loss to Marshall. The top seed outscored Belle Plaine 25-20, 27-25, 18-25, 25-20.

Kenzie Beekman led the winners with 27 kills and a .312 hitting percentage. She also had 12 digs.

“It was a really great match, our players really battled,” Belle Plaine head coach Cassie Wolpern said. “We got off to a slow start and then kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the second set. It felt to me like every game was 25-23.”

Belle Plaine led the second set 24-23 but couldn’t finish. A kill by Marshall’s Sydney Griffin tied the mach before Belle Plaine regained the lead on Mariena Hayden ace tip. A service error by Hayden allowed Marshall to tie the match at 25.

Marshall scored the next two points as Beekman and Callie Graff and then Emmy Doyle and Graff delivered consecutive ace blocks.

Haley Fogarty led Belle Plaine at the net with 19 kills and added 14 digs. Hayden finished with 16 kills and 17 digs. Kirsten Johnson helped out with 11 kills, 10 digs and 31 assists. Claire Otto contributed 18 digs.

“They were disappointed because they knew how close they were and because we had chances against (Marshall),” Wolpern said. “But they knew they put up a fight. I think overall we were satisfied with our effort.”

Belle Plaine (26-8) takes on the winner of Friday’s late match between Sauk Centre and Caledonia for the third-place trophy at 1 p.m. today.