ROCHESTER—Goodhue was back at the Mayo Civic Center, riding high after upsetting third-seeded Medford on Thursday.
But Bethlehem Academy is a buzzsaw. A state power. There was little margin of error for the sixth-seeded Wildcats.
And under the big lights in Rochester, the Cardinals proved to be the better team on Saturday, ending Goodhue's season in the Section 1A-West semifinals in three sets, 25-9, 25-14, 25-16.
"We had high hopes after that victory (versus Medford) and we were hoping to come out solid like we did Thursday," said Wildcats head coach Lindsey Mace. "I don't know if it's the lights here or that it's BA or that they have more experience coming here more often than we do. You could blame it on a lot of things. But we didn't play our best volleyball today. It's a disappointing way to end the season because I thought we could give them a better battle or have a better outcome."
From the onset, Bethlehem Academy dominated, going up 17-4 in the first set before the Wildcats could score two straight points.
In the second set, the serve-receive improved for Goodhue, which kept the match tighter before the Cardinals went on a six-point run to go ahead 22-12 en route to a 2-0 lead.
"We didn't have the best passes, then we started to adjust to the serves and the passing started to get there," Mace said. "Then our sets weren't there. We were too tight and we couldn't run our offense as well as we can. (BA) didn't do anything too crazy that we haven't seen. I think it was moreso a mental block."
Goodhue opened the third set with a 2-0 lead before the fifth-ranked Cardinals pulled away for good.
"It was the leadership on the court and the energy of the girls," Mace said of Goodhue's improved play in the second and third sets. "Seeing, hey, we can do this, and having that confidence instead of playing scared. It was them on the floor, trusting their teammates that helped them in the third set."
Sydney Lodermeier was Goodhue's top hitter with nine kills, followed by five from Elise Tipcke. Mariah Tipcke had 19 set assists with 13 digs, Torrie Rehder tallied 14 digs, and Hannah Gadient finished with two ace blocks as the Wildcats end the year with a 13-18 record.
"This isn't the way we want to go out, but I'm very proud of this team," Mace said. "We came back from some very tough losses and got better every practice, every game. It's just an attribute to our seven seniors that wanted it.
"This was one of our goals: Make it back to the Civic Center. They worked for it. This team was a lot of fun."