Last Tuesday the Fillmore Central volleyball team downed Caledonia, 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 28-26), completing a perfect 11-0 Three Rivers Conference schedule. That is the first title for the Falcons since they finished in a four-way tie with Caledonia, Chatfield and Wabasha-Kellogg back in 2007.

Offensively, in the win over the Warriors, Fillmore Central was led by Leah Scheevel (15 kills, .379 hitting), Taylor Case (15 kills, 15/15 serving), Morgan Malley (33 set assists, 8/9 serving, one ace, one kill), Tayah Barnes (14/14 serving, two aces), Sammi Bakke (7 kills, .538 hitting, 12/12 serving), Sara Schultz (12/12 serving, one ace), Kaitlyn Aug (3 kills) and Kelsey Berg (12/14 serving, one ace, one kill). It is really tough for opponents to guard any one player, as many on the team can really run with the ball at any given time.

The balance on offense is complemented by the balance on defense: Case (14/14 serve receive, 17 digs), Malley (7 digs), Scheevel (2 ace blocks), Barnes (6/6 SR, 9 digs), Larissa Armstrong (9/11 SR), Bakke (2 ½ ace blocks, 4 digs), Schultz (24/27 SR, 11 digs) and Berg (1/2 ace block).

Nerves might have been a factor in the match against Caledonia. In set one Fillmore Central fell behind early, 5-1, but rallied to take the lead at 7-6. The score was knotted at 22-22, with the Falcons taking three of the next four points for the 25-23 win. Freshman Kelsey Berg had five service points in game one. Schultz and Case each had four service points in set two as the Falcons rallied from an early deficit (down 4-1) to take the lead at 5-4, and win going away, 25-16.

Set three had everyone excited, going right down to the wire before the Lady Falcons pulled out the overtime win, 28-26. Caledonia had set win opportunities at 24-22, 25-24, and 26-25, but couldn't put the resilient Falcons away. Barnes got the ball with the score deadlocked at 26-26 and calmly served out the two-point win. By my count, Scheevel had eight kills in the final set and Case had five, including the final smash, and point 28.

In addition to a perfect 11-0 TRC campaign, the gals finished the regular season with a 29-2 record, and a No. 2 ranking in the state. Fillmore Central has been ranked No. 1 in the state, on two different occasions, prior to this week's recognition.

The gals also got the No. 1 seed in the sub-section, and will now set out to uphold that ranking with a first round match at home against Spring Grove Thursday night. Spring Grove, the No. 8 seed, beat Hope Lutheran (No. 9), 3-0, Monday night. Thursday night winners advance to the semi-finals, Saturday, 10 a.m., at Mayo Civic Center, in Rochester. The sub-section finals are Thursday, Oct. 31, at Mayo Civic Center.