Lexi Thorson with a dig for the Cougars. SAM CLEMENS/NEWS-RECORD
Lexi Thorson with a dig for the Cougars. SAM CLEMENS/NEWS-RECORD

Mabel-Canton netters experienced a case of deja vu last week, and it wasn't something they especially cared to relive.

In a rematch of last year's 1A East Sub-Section Championship, Fillmore Central defeated M-C, 25-15, 25-13, 25-15, on Thursday, Oct. 30.

The uncharacteristic straight-set loss was a tough pill to swallow for the Cougars, who ended their season at 31-5-0.

Five seniors led the Falcons, including a pair of middle hitters (Leah Scheevel and Sammi Bakke) and a setter (Morgan Malley) who have clicked especially well together — according to their coach.

"It's a luxury to have those three," Fillmore Central first-year head coach Travis Malley told the Rochester Post Bulletin. "Those three have been starting for us since they were freshmen. They have a great feel for each other."

Joined by classmates Kaitlynn Aug at right-side hitter and Sara Schultz at defensive specialist, the veteran Falcons played nearly error-free ball, M-C coach Lonnie Morken said.

“Our girls came in ready to play I thought, but FC was so efficient from the start of the match they kind of just buzz-sawed us,” he noted. “They didn't make any errors early and we weren't able to terminate enough balls. Because of this, we faced large deficits early in all three sets.”

Adding to M-C woes was the fact that Sara Vettleson-Trutza, the Cougar's top attacker, came in nursing a sprained ankle. That injury occurred just three days before the match, and the senior standout was doubtful just hours prior to Thursday's championship.

“She actually was our only consistent offensive threat, and wasn't anywhere near 100 percent,” Morken said. “I was really proud of her gutting it out!”

Morken also said the Cougars weren't able to ratchet up their normally aggressive serving routine enough to keep the Falcons off-balance.

“In the end, it was more about what FC did than what we didn't do,” he added. “Their passing was great and allowed them to set any of their hitters, and with a great setter like (Morgan) Malley, she kept us on our heels all night.”

Vettleson-Trutza led M-C hitters with 11 kills. Hannah Nolte scored four kills, while Courtney Graves and Dakota Delaney had two apiece. Savannah Slafter provided a team-high 14 digs. Setter Coranda Vickerman got 13 digs and put up 19 assists.

Bakke led the FC attack with 13 kills, and blocked a couple of shots. Scheevel had nine kills and 2.5 blocks. Paige Bennet provided seven kills and six digs, cashed in two ace serves and went 13 for 13 at the line. Morgan Malley put up 29 assists and finished four kill shots. Schultz and Tayah Barnes provided 20 digs each.

The KVGO-Radio Player of the Game for M-C was Vettleson-Trutza. Bakke, Malley and Scheevel shared the honor for FC. The KVGO Game Ball Award went to Bennett.

“The loss was not easy to take, but in the end I hope the girls feel very positive about the whole season,” Morken said. “We finished 31-5 with a completely new team. The girls worked very hard to keep M-C volleyball at an elite level. I would like to especially thank the seniors, Hannah Nolte, Ashlyn Dahl, Sara Vettleson-Trutza and Danielle Graves. They have been playing volleyball since fourth grade and set the tone everyday in practice this season. They were an honor to coach!”