Volleyball: Bombers move on with win over TritonCannon Falls wins its first section playoff game since 2007 in three-set victory on Thursday
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS – Although it came in as a favorite against Triton on Thursday, No. 3-seeded Cannon Falls had a chip on its shoulder. A year ago in the Section 1A-West playoffs, the Bombers fell in four sets to the Cobras.
“Last year, we lost to them in the first round of the playoffs and we really wanted to avenge that this year,” said Cannon Falls freshman Hailey Huseth. “We’ve never gotten the third seed ever before in campus history. We had to keep our momentum up because we were going to win. Nothing was stopping us.”
And in three sets, the Bombers avenged last year’s loss, and advanced out of the first round for the first time since 2007.
Cannon Falls won the match 25-20, 25-14, 25-18.
“I was nervous at the beginning of the game, it wasn’t a sure win,” said Bombers head coach Melissa Huseth. “I knew they would play tough. Triton had a couple players that we didn’t see earlier in the season.”
With the win, Cannon Falls preps for No. 2-seeded Stewartville, last year’s Class 2A runner-up, in the sub-section semifinals Saturday in Rochester. The Tigers opened the 1A-West playoffs with a 3-0 victory against Rochester Lourdes.
On Thursday, the Cobras gave the Bombers fits in the first set, clawing back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-6 lead after a Cannon Falls hitting error. But thanks to kills from Hailey Huseth and Carly Broze, the Bombers tallied the next five points for an 11-7 lead, holding the lead for the rest of the set.
“Sometimes we start out kind of slow,” Hailey Huseth said, “but usually in our second set, our serving’s on, then our setting and our passing all really connect.”
Up 11-8 in the second set, it was Hailey Huseth’s serving that swung the momentum firmly in Cannon Falls’ favor. The freshman finished with a team-high four ace serves.
“It’s such a momentum game. … We have to get the ball back and go on a run, and it starts with serving,” Melissa Huseth said. “We’ve been working on serving strong and working on certain areas on the court. We have to keep good teams out of their offense, and that starts with serving strong.”
Hailey Huseth also led a balanced Bomber attack, finishing with seven kills. MaKenzie Franklin had six kills, and Katie Noble and Broze each knocked down five kills in the victory.
“I know that teams are going to commit to block MaKenzie, but I definitely have more than one weapon on this team to put the ball away,” Melissa Huseth said.
Up 5-3 in the third set after a Hailey Huseth kill, the Bombers scored 10 of the next 13 points, and later went up 21-11 to hold off a late Cobras rally to clinch the sweep.
Becca Vandenheuvel had a solid night in the back row for Cannon Falls with 15 digs, while Lydia Franken controlled the offense with 13 set assists. Hailey Huseth capped off her strong all-around night with eight digs and eight set assists.
Now, Cannon Falls’ attention turns to Stewartville. On Sept. 11, the Bombers battled back and forth with the then-No. 2 ranked Tigers before losing in three sets.
“We’re excited to have a rematch,” Melissa Huseth said. “We started out so strong last time, and then we let up. Hopefully we’re a little stronger mentally.
“They have that huge tradition and the girls, I think, were a little intimidated by that tradition. It’s a new season, and we have to be the better team on Saturday.”