Coranda Vickerman sets up Dakota Delaney for a kill during Mabel-Canton’s playoff game against Schaeffer Academy last Thursday night. Vickerman finished the game with 33 assists and two aces. Dakota Delaney had five kills for the night. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
Coranda Vickerman sets up Dakota Delaney for a kill during Mabel-Canton’s playoff game against Schaeffer Academy last Thursday night. Vickerman finished the game with 33 assists and two aces. Dakota Delaney had five kills for the night. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
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Mabel-Canton kicked off the volleyball post season with a pair of wins last week. But their biggest test of the year comes on Thursday when the Cougars will face the Falcons of Fillmore Central.

Sub-Section quarterfinals, Oct 23

As the high seed at number one, Mabel-Canton hosted ninth-ranked Schaeffer Academy last Thursday.

The Cougars came out focused and won the match in straight sets, 25-11, 25-9, 25-20.

M-C coach Lonnie Morken said the third frame was close, not necessarily because the Cougars didn't play well, but because the Lions had picked up their game.

Schaeffer (11-9-0) probably had their best volleyball team in school history this year. And the Lions managed some outstanding stretches of play even during the matches they lost.

“Sara-Vettleson-Trutza played one of her best matches of the season,” Morken reported. “She finished with 12 kills on only 22 attempts and no errors. She also had a team high with 15 digs.

Savannah Slafter also crushed 12 kill shots with just one hitting error. She had 10 digs on defense. Courtney Graves scored seven kills on 22 attempts. Hannah Nolte had five kills on 14 attempts. Lexi Thorson contributed 14 digs and served at 94 percent (including a pair of aces). Coranda Vickerman also hit two instant winners while serving 94 percent and provided 39 assists.

The Lions were led by Hannah Harris with 10 kills, 11 digs, and two blocks. Katherine Eidem recorded six kills. Kristen Peterson had three blocks. Emily Barber set 18 assists and came up with nine digs.

Sub-Section semifinals, Oct 25

Returning to Mayo Civic Center, on Saturday, Mabel-Canton defeated Rushford-Peterson 20-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18.

Even though the Trojans have not had a great deal of experience at the big arena, they came out well focused and ready to play, Morken said.

M-C lost the opening set, committing an uncharacteristic nine hitting errors, four serving errors and three double contacts while setting.

“It is hard to beat anybody when you make 16 errors in a set,” Morken said. “In between sets, the girls weren't fazed by losing the first one. They still stayed positive and upbeat. We realized if we could clean up our game we would have a great chance at winning. In fact, (during) the final three sets we only had 12 more hitting errors and two more service errors total. Our hitting efficiency was a season low at 15 percent.”

Vettleson-Trutza had a good night hitting, passing and defending, totaling 23 kills, 13 digs, five ace blocks and two ace serves. Slafter got 14 kills, 18 digs and a pair of ace blocks. Graves had six kills, six digs and two ace serves. Dakota Delaney slammed three kills and blocked twice. Vickerman provided a team-high 25 digs.

As a team, the Cougars tallied a season-high 11 blocks. “We aren't real tall, but our blocking has improved a lot over the season,” Morken noted.

No stats were provided for Rushford-Peterson.

“Our girls realize we will have to play much better versus Fillmore Central or it will be a quick night!” the M-C coach said.

That's because the Cougars will again face the Falcons of Fillmore Central for the sub-section championship this year. FC defeated MC 3-1 on Oct. 31 last year, then went on to make an impressive run in the state tourney.

“I think FC was probably expected to get back here (the subsection finals) more than we were,” Morken said. “They only graduated two players and have a large senior class that has been playing varsity volleyball for multiple years. They are led by their setter, Morgan Malley, a very good libero,and two excellent middle hitters. Their right side and outsides are very big so that could be a problem for us also if our passing breaks down. We will have to play a complete match to win. This will be a game, that even if we play well in, we could still lose.”