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Volleyball: Stewartville upends Cannon Falls in 1AA-West semis

Cannon Falls' Olivia Thomley goes up for an attack during the Bombers' 3-0 loss to Stewartville on Saturday in the Section 1AA tournament at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)1 / 2
Cannon Falls' Kara Loeschke sets the ball during the Bombers' 3-0 loss to Stewartville on Saturday in the Section 1AA tournament at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)2 / 2

ROCHESTER – Cannon Falls and Stewartville are the future of Section 1AA. It's an evergreen statement, but holds true nonetheless.

On Saturday, in the semifinals of the Sub-section 1AA West tournament, the two teams battled for three sets that showcased both the impressive ability of the teams, and the obvious growing pains that young players exhibit on the way to the top.

The Bombers, who lost 3-0 (25-14, 29-27, 26-24), did not have a single senior on the roster. The Tigers, who moved on the the sub-section finals, have three. But Stewartville also started a freshman and two eighth-graders.

And though it was a sweep for the Tigers, it was not easy. Cannon Falls was down after missing on five game points in the second set, but the Bombers found another gear to push the third set further than it should have based on the early lead Stewartville built up.

“It was such a battle and we worked so hard. I wanted just one set to get that confidence going into the third. In the third set we were down 12-4, we started so flat,” said Cannon Falls head coach Melissa Huseth. “I asked them in the huddle (after a timeout in the third), 'How many sets does it take to win a match?' And they said 'Three.' And they responded and started fighting. I couldn't have asked for any more effort from them. I'm extremely proud of their effort. We just need to learn to start stronger and be aggressive at the beginning and get some runs and get the other team on the defensive. Instead, we let other teams like Stewartville do that to us.”

Sophomore Molly Bowen had a couple of her eight kills to start the rally, with junior Kara Loeschke adding a couple of her seven in the run to go with 25 asssists. Freshman Rachel Huseth added some needed defense with 10 digs, while junior libero Tatum Pickar had her usual game with 38 digs. Add in sophomore Olivia Thomley's five kills and three blocks, and the foundation is there for another push next year for Cannon Falls (13-17).

“I can't be disappointed in how we played. I'm disappointed in the score. But we came together as a team,” Huseth said. “The girls coming out for a sub were telling the others good luck. We pulled together today, and I love that about them.”

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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