Mabel-Canton champs of the East conference once again
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 6:40 AM
The Cougars' volleyball team wrapped up another regular season with a Southeast Conference (SEC) East Division championship on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Their last scheduled match resulted in a straight-set thrashing of the Grand Meadow Superlarks.
Two nights later, the Cougars hosted the SEC Showcase match versus West Division Champs LeRoy-Ostrander. M-C defeated the Cardinals three sets to one in that contest, which is for bragging rights only since conference bylaws do not recognize an overall champ where there are two divisions.
For the Cougars, this season's division title marks the 15th straight year they have claimed at least a share of the crown. Mabel-Canton remains in the eighth-place rank Class 1A team in state polls.
Mabel-Canton (W) at Grand Meadow 25-11, 25-18, 25-14
The Superlarks (14-10, 9-4 SEC), gave M-C a solid match on Tuesday, bringing eight upperclassmen to the fray. But some outstanding serving and on-target hitting from the Cougars was able to take GM out of their game plan.
"We came out and had a great night serving," M-C Coach Lonnie Morken reported. "We only had three misses and finished with 12 ace serves. Our tough serving made things difficult for GM to stay in (their) system."
Demonstrating remarkable efficiency, Cougar hitters Christy Welscher, Lydia Geving and Kristina Mengis combined for 21 kills with only two errors. Carly McCabe provided 25 assists, six digs and four kills of her own. Christine Lee had four service aces, as did Welscher. Geving dealt a pair of ace serves as well.
For the 'Larks, senior middle hitter Courtney Olson scored nine kills. Setter Autumn Thorsen had 14 digs, while libero Ashley Crumb added 10.
"They had one very good middle hitter (Olson) and she was tough to stop when she got a good set. We knew that we would have to keep them off balanced to ensure them not getting her the ball as much as they would like," Morken noted, adding that M-C passing and setting was also sharp.
Mabel-Canton (W) vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 25-9, 25-13, 24-26, 25-10
For a second straight year, M-C and L-O squared off in the East vs. West Showcase, which allows both teams an additional tune-up prior to subsection play.
"We played great volleyball in sets one, two and four," Morken said. "Set three was a combination of L-O playing better and us making too many errors."
"We set the tone early in the match by earning 22 of our 25 points in set one," Morken continued. That translated into an amazing 20 kills and two ace serves. The only chink in M-C's armor was in set three, when the Cougars missed five serves and had six hitting errors.
"I was very proud of how we regrouped and played much more efficiently and focused in set four," Morken said. "L-O is much improved since the first time we played them. They have a great libero and overall just work very hard on defense."
M-C finished with 60 kills in the 157-point match. Outside hitter Belle Sand had 18 kills, two service aces and 16 digs. Welscher had 11 kills, five aces, and two blocks. Geving killed 10 points, had 18 digs and two aces. McCabe provided 45 assists and 18 digs. Lee had 16 digs. Mengis and Sara Lind had seven kills each.
"We will take a lot away from this match," Morken said. "When we are playing like we did in the sets we won, we will be very tough out in the playoffs. However, if we lose focus like we did in set three, we will struggle."
M-C will host the winner of the Lewiston-Altura/Hope Lutheran game on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7. The winner of that match will play in Rochester on Saturday, Oct. 27 (4:30 pm) at Mayo Civic Center. The high seeds contending for that matchup include #2 M-C, #3 Fillmore Central and #6 Spring Grove. The following match is for the 1A East championship.
Southeast Conference 2012
VOLLEYBALL W L W L T
Mabel-Canton* 13- 0 29- 5 - 0
Spring Grove 10- 3 15-11 - 0
Houston 8 - 5 10-16 - 0
Hope Lutheran 4 - 9 7 -16 - 0
Lanesboro 1 -12 1 -17 - 0
LeRoy-Ostrander* 10- 3 19- 9 - 0
Grand Meadow 9 - 4 14-10 - 0
Lyle/Pacelli 6 - 7 8 -13 - 0
G-E 4 - 9 6 -20 - 0
Schaeffer Ac. 0 -13 0 -19- 0