On Thursday evening, Nov. 1, the Subsection 1A Volleyball East finals featured second-seeded Mabel-Canton and the top-seeded Wabasha-Kellogg Falcons. Held in the cavernous Mayo Civic Center, the Cougars took on a team that's been ranked first or second in the state in Class A all year long. M-C has been ranked as high as sixth in the state in the same coaches' poll. In a fast-paced, hard-hitting match, the Cougars lost in straight sets, 12-25, 20-25, 12-25.

While AA opponents Caledonia and Chatfield battled on an adjoining court, the veteran Falcons stymied M-C attacks with 88 digs, holding the Cougars to a season-low 8 percent in hitting efficiency. Hitting eight ace serves, W-K returned everything hit towards them that was in-bounds, keeping the Cougars from scoring a single ace from the line.

All 15 Falcons were upperclassmen. Well-coached and disciplined, they "attacked our outsides a lot on offense which we hadn't seen too much all season," M-C Coach Lonnie Morken noted. "We would have our defense aligned correctly but we would be off-balanced so we weren't able to dig the ball."

"They played a great match in every aspect," Morken reported. "We knew for us to beat a team as good as W-K they would have to be slightly off and we were going to have to play extremely well. Unfortunately, neither one of those things happened."

The Cougars briefly took charge in the second set, but were unable to control the momentum long enough to win the frame. "Overall it was a night that we put forth effort, but weren't able to get the results we had hoped for," Morken said.

Juniors Lydia Geving and Belle Sand led with eight and seven kills, respectively. Libero Christine Lee, also a junior, led the defense with 14 digs. It was the final match for four Cougars, with seniors Christy Welscher, Danielle Paul, Amanda Rasmussen, and Kristina Mengis taking the court one last time. Middle hitter Welscher got two ace blocks and two kills. Defensive specialist Paul got eight digs and scored five points from the service line. Rightside-hitter Mengis scored an ace block and got two digs. Middle hitter Rasmussen also saw action at the net.

For the Falcons, senior outside hitter Katie Cavalco led with 15 kills. Senior defensive specialist Lexi Vaplon had 20 digs. Junior rightside hitter Ellen Vanwey dealt four ace serves. Senior setter Kalyn Biever provided 38 assists.

M-C finished the season at 31-5-0. W-K lost to the top-ranked team in the state (Bethlehem Academy) two nights later in the Section 1A finals.