The Mabel-Canton Cougars once again won their Labor Day Classic Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 1, successfully fending off six opponents from Class A, AA, and AAA over the course of a 14-set day.

Coming into the tourney ranked eighth in state Class A polling, the Cougars won all 14 sets of their seven matches (with seven teams competing, each pool match consisted of two, rather than three sets). Split set matches went to the team with the highest point total.

"I thought the girls improved a great deal from our first match," M-C Coach Lonnie Morken said. "Overall it was a very good day for us. We played one poor set out of 14. It's very difficult to keep your focus and composure on such a long day, but we did a very good job of that."

"We were probably sharpest in the three matches we had to be, the two R-P matches and the Brainerd match," Morken continued. "We had a very balanced offense which will be important as the season goes on. Teams that have one or two kids that other teams can key on are easier to stop then a team with multiple attackers."

Morken said his team serve-received well, allowing them to focus on a "system" of good setting. The results were 176 team kills on 364 attempts, with a team hitting percentage of 90.

The day began bright and early with pool play at 8 a.m., and proceeded with barely a pause. Mabel-Canton began by defeating Rushford-Peterson 25-10, 25-17. That match was followed by Winona Cotter (25-15, 25-15), Brainerd (25-15, 25-12), Waukon (25-12, 25-20) Spring Grove (25-17, 25-12) and Houston (25-14, 25-23). The tournament championship brought the two best records together, with challenger R-P (5-1) taking another crack at the Cougars. That match ended in a 25-15, 25-16 Mabel-Canton victory.

In the third-place match, Brainerd defeated Waukon, 25-23, 22-25, 15-7. The fifth place game was won by Spring Grove, 25-19, 25-16.

Eight of 15 Cougars played in all 14 sets. Those who saw the most action included outside hitter Belle Sand, who notched 43 kills, seven aces, 58 digs and 12 set assists.

Setter Carly McCabe had 29 kills, eight aces, 28 digs and 120 assists.

Outside hitter Lydia Geving had 35 kills, 11 aces, 33 digs.

Middle hitter Christy Welscher had 28 kills, two aces, four digs, six assists and five blocks.

Middle hitter Sara Lind had 18 kills and a team-high eight blocks.

Libero Christine Lee had three aces, a kill and 48 digs.

Right side hitter Kristina Mengis had 17 kills, three digs, 10 assists and 2.5 blocks.

Defensive specialist Danielle Paul had 14 digs and two aces.

"We're getting better, but still have lots of things to work on," Morken noted, adding that the folks who put in a long day to make the tourney a success deserve some recognition.

"I would like to thank all of the people that helped out at the tournament keeping score, helping with concessions, etc. Special thanks go out to my wife, Stephanie, assistant coach Bethany Moen, and our line judge Pastor Mary (Waudby) who basically spent all day in the gym," he said.