Raiders volleyball begins defense of section title

Brian Meyers
sports writer

The main goal for the Roseville Area High School volleyball team this season was to successfully defend the section championship it won a year ago. With a decent amount of turnover from last year’s state-tournament team, it wasn’t going to be easy.

Roseville started the season 0-4 but came together as the season progressed and this week the Raiders enter the Section 4AAA playoffs as the No. 2 seed.

As a top-four seed, Roseville receives a bye in the first round, which is Tuesday, and will open the post-season on Thursday at home against either seventh-seeded Henry Sibley or 10th-seeded South St. Paul.

Part of Roseville’s resume that landed the high seed was the Suburban East Conference championship it won. The Raiders finished tied for first place with Cretin-Derham Hall (16-10) with one loss each. Roseville’s lone conference loss came against East Ridge while Cretin’s was to Roseville (17-10) on Oct. 8. Cretin is the No. 3 seed.

North St. Paul (19-7) is the No. 1 seed but by no means the overwhelming favorite. The Polars finished second in the Classic Suburban Conference standings, behind Hill-Murray, and went 1-1 against Roseville during the regular season. North beat the Raiders 3-0 in the second match of the season for both teams while Roseville returned the favor in the last round of the Blaine tournament in late September.

Should Roseville and North face each other a third time this season, it would be in the section final and would be a rematch of last year’s section championship match that the Raiders won in three games.

Concordia Academy

Like Roseville, the Beacons drew a high seed in the Section 4AA playoffs, which begin on Wednesday. Concordia, the No. 3 seed hosts 14th-seeded St. Croix Prep at 7 p.m.

Unlike Roseville’s section, 4AA has a clear-cut favorite in top-seeded St. Croix Lutheran. The Crusaders are the defending section champions, won the Tri-Metro Conference title and have lost just one match all season. A positive for Concordia (20-6-2) is that it was responsible for St. Croix Lutheran’s lone defeat. The Beacons beat the Crusaders 2-1 in a weekend tournament in mid-September.

To get another shot at St. Croix, Concordia will probably have to get through second-seeded Hill-Murray in the semifinals. The Pioneers (23-4) won the Classic Suburban Conference championship this season by going unbeaten in league play.

Following the first round, the section tournament continues on Friday with the quarterfinals. Next week, the semifinals are set for Oct. 29 and the championship match is on Halloween at 7:30 p.m. at Bloomington Kennedy High School.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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