Volleyball: Wabasha-Kellogg wallops Goodhue in 1A-East semisNo. 2-ranked Falcons make short work of Wildcats in 3-set victory
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
ROCHESTER – Leading for just three points in Saturday’s Section 1A-East sub-section semifinal against No. 2-ranked Wabasha-Kellogg, Goodhue head volleyball coach Andy Kimball rated W-K’s performance bluntly.
“There’s a reason why they’re a top three team in the state,” Kimball said.
Sparked by a 15-kill effort by outside hitter Katie Cavalco, the Falcons disposed of the Wildcats in convincing fashion in a three-set sweep, 25-13, 25-11, 25-19, at the Mayo Civic Center.
“The good things we were able to do was with the way they hit; we were able to get good serve-receives, and we served well,” Kimball said. “They were still able to get great sets and get good swings on us.”
With the victory, the No. 2-ranked Falcons (29-2) will head into the sub-section finals Thursday against Mabel-Canton.
From the first set, Cavalco’s swings were pounding the floor as she swung around the Goodhue block with relative ease on the way to a 15-6 first-set lead. Up 19-13, W-K went up 1-0 after scoring the final six points of the first set.
Kimball said that it wasn’t the force Cavalco put into her shots that made defense difficult, but rather the focus put into her shots.
“She didn’t hit as hard as I thought she would coming in,” Kimball said of Cavalco, “but she just hits so smart. That was the big thing, she was just so smart.”
The Wildcats (12-17-2) struck first in the second set on a kill by Meredith Watson, but the Falcons responded with four consecutive points. From there, Goodhue got to within one point just once in the remainder of the set. With a 4-3 lead, W-K tallied 14 of the next 16 points.
Though the Falcons were one of the smaller teams the Wildcats faced this season, the W-K defense got to every ball and held Goodhue to 20 total kills.
“We had to hit over the top of their blockers, and that’s something we’ve struggled with all year,” Kimball said. “We’re on the short side, and their not tall either, but those two or three inches their girls had on us, those made a difference.”
Trailing 6-3 in the third set, the Wildcats managed to claw back, taking a 7-6 lead after a block by Shelby Hinsch and Laurie Pearson. The lead was short-lived following a kill by Cavalco and a receiving error by Goodhue put W-K up 8-7. The Falcons would not trail for the rest of the match.
Facing elimination, Kimball credits his team for being able to stay competitive in the final set.
“At that point, the kids played like they had nothing to lose, and that helped out,” Kimball said. “Then, Wabasha just did their thing.”
Mikayla Miller led Goodhue with eight kills, while Pearson and Ryan each chipped in with four. Mikayla Tipcke controlled the passing with 16 set assists and 10 digs, and Emilee Roschen and Pearson had 17 and 14 digs, respectively.