Beacons volleyball makes another run to the state final

The Concordia Academy volleyball team finished second at the Class AA state tournament Nov. 12. The team included Rachel Terhaar, Brooke Weichbrodt, Taylor Brunn, Sally Paul, Kira Fallert, Lydia Lecher, Sarah McTaggart, Anika Neuman, Arika Robinson, Erin Fallert and Abby Miggler.

For the second consecutive year, the Concordia Academy volleyball team concluded its season by playing for a state championship. The title eluded the Beacons again, but just getting to the finals was a great accomplishment based on who they had to go through to get there.

Concordia Academy was the No. 4 seed in the Class AA tournament and played a pair of grueling matches in the first two rounds. It took four games, all of which were decided by two points, to get past Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in the quarterfinals and then the Beacons downed the No. 1 team in the state, Kenyon-Wanamingo, in five games in the semifinals.

Those two efforts didn’t leave Concordia Academy with much left heading into the championship match against second-seeded Maple Lake. The Irish took control early and rolled to a three-set victory.

Despite the loss in the finals, senior co-captain Erin Fallert said it was a great weekend.

“It was so huge to come back here and I think it was a great way to end my senior year,” Fallert said. “I don’t think I would have it any other way. It’s been such a great experience playing for Concordia volleyball.”

Senior co-captain Anika Neuman concurred.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to do this tournament with anyone else,” Neuman said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this team.”

Having to replace some key pieces from last year’s state-finalist squad had head coach Kim Duis and her staff wondering how far this year’s team could go. 

“At the beginning of the season, this is a place we did not expect, as a group, to be,” said Duis. “We exceeded our expectations and are very excited to be where we ended, in the championship match. Not liking the outcome of it but very, very proud of what they accomplished this year.”

The high of taking down the top team in Class AA in the semifinals was difficult for Concordia Academy to duplicate a day later in the Nov. 12 championship match. 

“I definitely would say it was tough just because it was so emotionally draining and physically draining too,” said Neuman. “We were all obviously very excited to play today and it was hard at the same time to refocus and get going. That was one of the things that impacted today.”

Path to the final

Maple Lake’s path to the final was a bit less of a grind. The Irish beat unseeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in three games in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Kasson-Mantorville in four games in the semifinals.

Maple Lake didn’t run away with any of the three games in the final but the Irish kept Concordia Academy from getting on any sustained runs. Three points was the Beacons’ longest consecutive run in any of the three games.

Fallert led Concordia Academy with nine kills, Sally Paul added five and Neuman and Kira Fallert had three each. Brooke Weichbrodt, who stepped in as the starting setter this season as an eighth grader, finished with 16 set assists.

In the semifinals, Concordia Academy faced the tall task of trying to take down top-ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo, which had lost just once all season. The underdog role suited the Beacons.

“We knew the pressure was on Kenyon-Wanamingo and we were just going to go and play our game and have fun,” Fallert said. “And not so much focus on us being the underdog and I think that drove us to push harder.”

Concordia Academy got off to a fast start to take an early seven-point lead (12-5) en route to a 25-17 win in game one. 

“I think [winning game one] definitely gave us confidence,” said Fallert. “We might have had doubts coming in but we were super fired up and excited. We didn’t get too far ahead of ourselves after we won the first set because we knew they were going to come back and battle.”

Fallert was right as Kenyon-Wanamingo answered by running out to a 7-1 lead in game two. The Knights led by as many as nine and won the set 25-19.

Game three was marked by a number of momentum swings. With the set tied at 10-10, the Beacons went on a 12-4 run to take an eight-point lead at 22-14. A five-point streak helped Concordia Academy build that lead but Kenyon-Wanamingo used four and six-point runs to take a 24-23 lead. There were four ties after that but the Beacons were able to win the set 29-27 on a kill by Fallert and an attack error by the Knights.

With a chance to close out the match in four games, Concordia Academy fell behind by as many as nine in game four before storming back to tie it at 18-18. From there, Kenyon-Wanamingo closed it out with a 7-4 run.

In the fifth and deciding game, Concordia Academy never trailed. The Beacons ran out to a 4-1 lead and gave up back-to-back points only twice in winning 15-10.

Fallert was one of three Beacons to reach double digits in kills as she finished with 26. Younger sister Kira Fallert added a dozen and Neuman knocked down 11. Weichbrodt finished with 54 set assists.

Concordia Academy opened the tournament with a four-set win (23-25, 27-25, 25-23, 30-28) over Morris Area but it wasn’t an ordinary four-game match. The Beacons dropped game one and needed overtime to even the match at a game apiece. Game three was also tight and the fourth set also went past 25.

“If you look at our games with Morris,” said Duis, “it was a four-game match but technically we call it a five-game match just because of the two-point scores all the way through.”

Erin Fallert led the Beacons’ attack against Morris with 30 kills, Neuman added 11 and Kira Fallert finished with 10. Weichbrodt’s assist total ended up at 60.



Erin Fallert, Neuman and Weichbrodt landed spots on the Class AA all-tournament team.


Brian Meyers can be reached at or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


Class AA state high school volleyball tournament


Match 1 — Kenyon-Wanamingo def. Holy Angels 25-21, 25-12, 25-13

Match 2 — Concordia Academy def. Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 23-25, 27-25, 25-23, 30-28

Match 3 — Maple Lake def. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 25-16, 25-19, 25-22

Match 4 — Kasson-Mantorville def. Hermantown 25-18, 25-18, 25-19



Match 5 — Concordia Academy def. Kenyon-Wanamingo 25-17, 19-25, 29-27, 22-25, 15-10

Match 6 — Maple Lake def. Kasson-Mantorville 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-15


Consolation semifinals

Match 7 — Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta def. Holy Angels 23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 15-12

Match 8 — Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton vs. Hermantown 25-17, 25-21, 25-11


Consolation championship

Match 9 — Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta def. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 25-23, 20-25, 26-24, 25-19


Third-place match

Match 10 — Kenyon-Wanamingo def. Kasson-Mantorville 28-26, 25-23, 25-14


Championship match

Match 11 — Maple Lake def. Concordia Academy 25-16, 25-17, 25-19





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