M-C girls take two SEC matches, holiday tourney title


LEE EPPS/NEWS LEADER Lauren Wyffels returns serve against Rushford-Peterson. In support are Jordyn Newgard, left, and Mackenzie Kelly.

LEE EPPS/NEWS LEADER Kenidi McCabe attacks against Rushford-Peterson during a tournament championship run.
By: 
Chad Smith

The Mabel-Canton volleyball team remained perfect on the season during a busy pre-Labor Day holiday schedule. As the No. 6-ranked team in Class A, the Cougars started the week with a 3-0 win on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Schaeffer Academy.

The Cougars picked up a big early-season SEC win at home against Grand Meadow, 3-0, on Thursday, Aug. 29. They ended the week with their annual Labor Day Holiday Classic by going 7-0 on the day and winning the title 2-0 (25-13, 25-8) against Spring Grove. The Cougars are 10-0 overall (3-0 SEC).

Win at SA 3-0

25-8, 25-15, 25-13

Cougar coach Lonnie Morken said his team played well against the hard-serving Lions. “They’re a tall team that served hard and played scrappy volleyball on defense,” he said. “We hit really well as a team (.284) and finished with 41 kills in only three sets. Those kinds of numbers only happen because of good passing and good setting.”

Sarina Stortz (team-high 3 blocks) was the only Cougar in double figures with 11 kills (22 attempts), but she had plenty of help. Nine other Cougar girls had at least one kill. Payton Danielson added 9 kills; Emily Carolan had 5 and Kenidi McCabe had 4. The team finished with 41 kills and only 14 errors in 95 attempts.

McCabe led the team with 25 of the 34 M-C set assists. Lauren Wyffels and Sahara Morken each added 3.

The Cougars went 67 of 71 at the service line (94%) with 13 aces (McCabe 3, four players with 2 each). Danielson was a perfect 15 for 15 and Molly Lee was 11 of 11. Defensively, M-C wound up with 55 digs (McCabe 11, Danielson 10) and 5 blocks.

“We were only aced once all night,” Morken said. “We had good contributions from a lot of our players.”

Win vs. GM 3-0

25-8, 25-9, 25-8

The Cougars were back home on Thursday night for what Morken anticipated to be a “good early-season test.” However, this was a test the M-C squad passed with flying colors. Morken said the atmosphere was great, thanks to a big crowd.

“KFIL was there to do the game on Thursday, and it was a great night,” he recalled. “Their size and athleticism really concerned me, plus I knew they had a very good libero. It was one of those nights when all phases of our game clicked. We know if we want to make a long trip into the playoffs this year, this is the level we’ll need to be at.

“We finished with 43 kills and only 6 errors (90 attacks), which meant our efficiency was .411, unreal against a really good team,” he said.

The Cougars didn’t have a single attacker in double-figures; however, eight players all contributed. Danielson wound up with 9; Stortz added 8 and Carolan and Jordyn Newgard each added 7 kills.

“While we served under 90 percent for the first time this season, we did wind up with 14 aces,” Morken said. “Molly Lee was on fire at the line, going 27 for 28 with 4 aces. It seemed like we went on a run every time we stepped up to the line.” M-C finished the night at 67 of 75 from the service line. McCabe went 10 of 12 with a team-best 5 aces to go with her usual team-high in set assists (34).

The defense finished with 57 digs as three players (Danielson 12, McCabe 10, Wyffels 10) wound up in double figures. “Kaylor Soiney is our libero and had one of her best games so far, finishing with 7 digs and playing great on serve receive,” Morken recalled. “Really, our entire back row did well."

The Cougars front line had 4 blocks, 2 each from Stortz and Newgard.

Win M-C Classic

The Cougars ended the week with their annual Labor Day weekend tournament and had what could only be called a perfect day. M-C captured the team title by winning all seven of their matches and not dropping a single set (14-0).

M-C 2, Lanesboro 0

>>>25-11, 25-13

MC 2, RP 0

>>>25-10, 25-10

MC 2, Kingsland 0

>>>25-12, 25-5

MC 2, Houston 0

>>>25-10, 25-10

MC 2, G. Meadow 0

>>>25-12, 25-18

MC 2, Sp. Grove 0

>>>25-12, 25-12

MC 2, Sp. Grove 0

>>>25-13, 25-8

“It’s the 12th year we’ve hosted the tournament,” Morken said. “It’s a great chance for all the teams to try out different lineups against different teams.

“We were quite steady all day,” Morken recalled. “We lost focus on the court in just a few instances. At the end of the day, we beat Spring Grove in the final 25-13 and 25-8. Strong serving and efficient hitting stood out to me through the day.”

The team was back over 90 percent in serving, hitting 322 of 352 serves (91%). They had 65 aces (Danielson 22), averaging 9 per match.

The Cougars were a solid 30% efficiency at the net, getting 175 kills in 443 attacks (43 errors, just 6 per match). Stortz led the team with 46 kills; Danielson added 34 and McCabe 30.

McCabe led the squad with 102 set assists. Carolan had 24 and Wyffels 22.

“We had a lot of players do very well all day,” Morken added. “Senior Avery Davis is coming back from a serious knee injury and is looking better every week in practice. She finished the day with 14 kills and 2 ace blocks, plus she’s starting to move more as she did before her injury.

“Three of our attackers hit over .340, including Stortz, McCabe, and Danielson,” he said. “We certainly improved in many different areas. It’s still early in the season, but we also found things we’ll certainly need to improve on before we go to Burnsville in late September for the Class A Showcase.”

Morken said Mabel-Canton cannot put on a successful tournament every year without a lot of help. “I’d like to thank my wife, Stephanie, who organized the concession stand as well as all the players and parents that helped work in it. I’d also like to thank my assistant coaches, Coranda Vickerman and Bethany Moen, for their help with stats.

“A big thank you to Lexi Thorson for line judging as well as Courtney Graves, Jerry Jacobsen and Justin Jacobsen for running the clock. Hosting a tournament is fun, but it’s also a lot of work. I’m blessed to have such great help.”

Schedule

The Cougars were back into SEC play on Sept. 3 with a home match against Kingsland. They head to Spring Grove for a match on Thursday, Sept. 5, against the Lions before they return home to host Lanesboro next Tuesday, Sept. 10.