AAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Saturday, 11.12.2011
EDEN PRAIRIE eagles 3, LAKEVILLE NORTH panthers 2
(22-25, 25-21,19-25, 25-18, 22-20)
It will go down as an instant classic. #4 seed Eden Prairie upset #2 seed and defending champion Lakeville North in five sets to cap the 2011 state volleyball season. It was only
fitting that the season ended in this dramatic fashion. For three nights the last game of the night went five. Today was no exception. This is Eden Prairie's first championship in only their second appearance. This game featured two young guns on the outside. According to the MSHSL stats LN's Alyssa Goehner edged EP's Sarah Wilhite 34-33 in kills. Both were the focal points. But it came down to errors, as it usually does in volleyball. LN gave away 36 points on the night, 9 in the last set. EP gave away 30, but only 3 in the critical final frame. LN showed their resilliancy by holding off match points seven times in the fifth set. There were ghosts of Stewartville vs Jordan from the night before careening on the court. EP held a 14-11 lead when LN stormed back to tie it at 14. Goehner provided LN's answer to match point with four kills in the first five tries. Wilhite was huge in putting EP back in set point position with two straight side out kills. The advantage shifted over to LN after a block by Sami Flattum and Nicole Latzig. On their first crack at match point the Panthers served in the net. The got their second chance after a side out kill by Latzig. Michaela Sir held off the second LN match point with a block, and then a block by Ellen Piechowski gave EP the advantage again. Haley Walker held off match point #7 with a kill. Sir got a kill to put EP in position. Sarah Wilhite returned to the front row and capped the season with a kill and the celebration was on.
Eden Prairie got off to a sizzling 10-3 start with runs of five and four. Kirsten Peterson, who had one kill in the Andover match Friday, had three kills in a row in the first run. The last three points in the second run came on LN hitting errors. After a EP hitting error Abby Monson stepped to the line and immediately injected life into the Panther cause with three straight aces. That closed the gap to 10-8. A missed EP serve started a five point run again with Monson at the service line. She tacked on an ace and Flattum came up with two kills. That effort helped put the Panthers in front for the first time 19-17. After both teams were tied at 20, LN finished with a 5-2 kick. Goehner had two side out kills with Flattum getting the set point kill on the first LN try, after an EP time out.
Set two again started off with EP holding a 7-4 lead. LN took thie first lead on at 13-12 after a Goehner kill. That was the start of a 6-2 run. EP took a time out at 16-14 after a hitting error, and then had to take another time out immediately on the next point 17-14 after a roll kill by Goehner that setter Maddie Reese appeared to get injured on. After the time out with Reese back on the floor, LN came up with two hitting errors. The Panthers pushed their lead out to 19-16 after a block by Walker. Then the Panthers couldn't get the ball over the net. They missed three straight serves. All that did was give EP an opening with a run of four to go back in front 20-19. After a block by Walker (& missed LN serve) the Eagles tacked on three more points. LN tried to stop the EP express with a time out trailing 22-20, but a LN hitting error foiled that plan. The final point came on the third LN missed serve. LN actually outearned EP 16-14 in this set, but 11 errors gave EP the match.
Runs were hard to come by in the third set. EP had their first and only run of three to take an 8-6 lead. LN responded with five striaght points to go up 11-8. Their next and final run came after three straight Goehner kills (16-11). Both teams were strong on FSSO in this set at the end with 9 straight trade offs.
LN's offense disappeared (or maybe EP's defense rose to the occassion). In either case LN only had 9 earned points in the fourth set. EP once more raced out to an 8-2 lead. Wilhite had three kills in that opening rush. LN did close to 10-7, but was doing it thanks to 4 EP hitting errors. Another EP run of three gave the Eagles a 13-7 lead. Ellen Piechowski had a kill and block in the run. Soon Wilhite was back in the front row and came up with five straight EP points (separated by LN side outs). LN had one last surge with a run of five after trailing 23-13---four on EP hitting errors (with two blocks). Wilhite sent the match to set five with an overpass kill.
The fifth set got off on the right foot for EP with a 4-0 lead initiated by two straight kills by Wilhite. Goehner scored the first three points for LN and EP gave away two points to narrow the margin to 7-5. EP reasserted themselves with four straight points to go up 11-5. LN tried to stop the run after an ace by Camille Schultz. LN's Kelly Nizzari provided three kills to cut the EP lead to 11-9. The kill on point 8 was disputed by the EP bench. The kill on point 9 was deflected off the EP block. EP went up 14-11 after two LN hitting errors. That set up the dramatic finish.
LN outscored EP 17-13 in earned points in the fifth set, but hurt their cause with 9 errors while EP only gave away three in the set. For the night LN had 79 earned points, EP 75. There was plenty of great saves throughout the night with EP leading the dig category 95-87. Goehner had a 30/30 night with 34 kills and 38 digs. EP Libero Jamie Cairncross led the Eagles with 29 digs. Both setters delivered 50 or more sets. Reese's set % was 52/57 or .912. Jessica Wolff was 50/59 or .847.
Notes: This was the first championship five setter since Marshall beat St. Cloud Cathedral in 2007 for the AA champioinship. Prior to that the last five setter championship game in AA came in 2005 when Chaska topped Marshall, then a AAA team, in five. The last time any championship game went to extra points in the fifth came in 2005 when Lake of the Woods beat Stewartville in the AA championship. This was the first time a AAA championship game went to extra points.
What a finish.
EARNED POINTS PER SET
Eden Prairie 16-14-14-20-13
Lakeville North 18-16-18-9-17
ALLOWED POINTS PER SET
Eden Prairie 7-4-7-9-3
Lakeville North 6-11-5-5-9
BY THE NUMBERS
team, fsso/fsso attempts; fbso %; points, % earned; % allowed
Eden Prairie 38/64-.594; 113; .699; .312
Lakeville North 35/64-.547; 109; .688; .301
runs 3+: Eden Prairie 9; Lakeville North 9
string: Eden Prairie 6; Lakeville North 5
missed serves: Eden Prairie 7; Lakeville North 8
free balls sent: Eden Prairie 24, Lakeville North 15
time outs: Eden Prairie 1/6-.167; Lakeville North 4/7-.571
set point %: Eden Prairie 3/11-.273; Lakeville North 2/5-.400
1. Piechowski 22-18 .550
2. Cairncross 20-15 .571
3. Reese 17-14 .548
4. Wilhite 18-25 .419
5. Schultz 18-20 .471
6. Domalewski 18-17 .514
totals: 113-109 .509
1. Nizzari 18-16 .529
2. Hagen 18-24 .429
3. Wolff 13-16 .448
4. Goehner 19-18 .514
5. Monson 23-20 .535
6. Larson 18-19 .486
totals: 109-113 .491
RACE TO ...
set 5 10 15 20 25
1 EP EP EP LN LN
2 EP EP LN EP EP
3 LN LN LN LN LN
4 EP EP EP EP EP
5 EP EP EP EP
teams 1 2 3 4 5
Eden Prairie 7-5-2-10-6
Lakeville North 3-3-6-0-1
Eden Prairie Left .636; Middle .285; Right .044
Lakeville North Left .620; Middle .267; Right .167