Beacons volleyball places fourth in state


photos courtesy of Concordia Academy The Concordia Academy Beacons volleyball team finished the 2018 season with a record of 27-5 and took fourth place at the state tournament in St. Paul on Nov. 10.

The Beacons celebrated the team’s Nov. 3 Section 4AA championship win over Hill-Murray, which sent Concordia to state.

3 players receive all-state accolades

 

The Concordia Academy volleyball team finished fourth in the Class AA volleyball state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 10. 

The Beacons fell in three sets to Kasson-Mantorville in the third-place match. 

All three sets were closely contested, though Concordia just couldn’t get out of a set with a win. The Beacons lost 25-23, 28-26 and 26-24. 

This was the fourth trip to the Xcel for the Beacons in five seasons. Last season the team fell short in the section semi-finals against Academy of Holy Angels.  

“We knew we were evenly matched and that it would be a good game. It was just a matter of who made the least amount of mistakes,” said head coach Kim Duis on the tilt against Kasson-Mantorville. “Sometimes losses within two points are tougher to handle than a blowout, because you’re right there in the end.”

On top of the fourth-place finish, three Beacons received all-state accolades. Sophomores Kira Fallert and Brooke Weichbrodt were named all-state and senior Taylor Brunn received all-state honorable mention. 

Brunn had a solid bounce-back season after sitting out her junior year recovering from shoulder surgery. Brunn plays libero, a position with many tasks, but the most important is being solid on defense.

“Taylor played awesome defense for us, she kept the ball in play and came up with some great plays that would normally hit the floor,” Duis said.

 

Trying to tame tigers

Second-seeded Concordia faced Belle Plaine to open up the tournament. The Beacons came out strong to take a 25-16 first-set win and a 25-20 win in the second. Belle Plaine stayed in the match as the Tigers flipped the script on Concordia to win 25-20 in a crucial third set. Concordia won a close 27-25 fourth set and closed it out with a 25-21 checkmate in the fifth.

The path only got more difficult when the Beacons faced Marshall in the semi-finals. Concordia took the first set, 26-24. However, the Beacons dropped the next three sets to Marshall. The Marshall Tigers routed Concordia in four sets to advance to the championship match. The team’s defense was so thick that Concordia had a tough time finding a spot on the floor where the Beacons could put the ball to score.

“Marshall played phenomenal defense, picking up everything we hit at them,” said Duis. “That wore on the team throughout the match.”

Although the team came up short of third place, the Beacons still have a lot of positives to look back on from throughout the season. Concordia placed second in the Apple Valley tournament in early September after losing to Stewartville, a team that was ranked first in all of Class AA. Two weeks later the Beacons took second again after Concordia lost to Kasson-Mantorville at the Class AA Showcase in Burnsville.

At the end of September the Beacons made it to the finals again in a third tournament, this time in Blaine. Concordia dished out North St. Paul’s first loss of the season to take home some first-place hardware. Duis said she was excited to have her team back at the Xcel after a one-year absence. 

The Beacons have depth from top to bottom, and although Concordia will be losing five seniors this year, the Beacons will still have three seniors next season playing alongside the two juniors who were named all-state as sophomores. Concordia Academy volleyball should be strong again next season. 

The Beacons finished the year with a record of 27-5, an improvement over last year’s 22-9 finish. 

 

–Lucas Ailport can be reached at roseville@lillienews.com.

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