MAKEOVER Mayo volleyball

By Jason Feldman

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

ST. PAUL — Brittany Looker was able to smile, even after her team was swept in a best-of-five match for the first time all season.

The sting of Thursday morning’s 3-0 loss to top-ranked and defending state champion Shakopee was dulled a bit by the reminder that Rochester Mayo was in the state volleyball tournament for the first time in 34 years. And Looker was Mayo’s leader, putting down 11 kills, in a 25-16, 25-5, 25-17 Class AAA quarterfinal loss to the Sabers.

"We are so happy to be here," Looker said. "It’s such a nice place (the Xcel Center), but we have to regroup and play better Friday)."


Mayo (21-10) was scheduled to play at 9 a.m. Friday in a consolation match against Wayzata. Shakopee (29-2) advanced to a 9 a.m. semifinal match against Andover.

Mayo’s opening -round match was as much of a whirlwind as the past week has been. For Spartans players and coaches, it seemed like the time between defeating Owatonna in the Section 1AAA championship match last Saturday and Wednesday night’s state tournament banquet went by in the snap of fingers.

And Mayo has enjoyed every second of its first trip to state since 1974.

"All of our kids showed up to play (Thursday)," Mayo coach Deb Frederick said. "So far, this has been a great experience. Getting here was like … ‘This is it, we’re here to play, now let’s go out and do it.’ "

Mayo hung with Shakopee for much of Game 1, rallying from an early 7-2 deficit to twice tie the score, at 8-8 and 11-11. Shakopee won the next three points and led by at least two points the rest of the game.

"We really thought that would help us in Game 2," Frederick said of Mayo’s strong performance in the first game. "For a moment I think we took a breath and thought ‘wow, we could win this game.’ "We knew what to expect but I think we were still a little intimidated."

Mayo was never in Game 2, falling behind by scores of 11-2 and 22-3. The Spartans hung tough in the final game, though, pulling within 17-13 after trailing by nine early in the game. Looker had four kills in the third game to cut Mayo’s deficit from 12-3 to 14-9.

"We wanted to give our parents and fans something to cheer for," Looker said. "It felt really good to stick with them, but they got on a couple of runs and we couldn’t stop them."


Shakopee’s 6-foot-1 all-state outside hitter Ashley Wittman did most of the damage, but the Sabers spread the ball around well. Wittman, a junior who has verbally committed to the University of Minnesota, had match highs of 20 kills and 18 digs. Juniors Elizabeth Benusa and Jean Theis added eight and six kills, respectively. The Sabers had a .368 hitting percentage, with just nine errors.

Looker had five digs in addition to her team-best 11 kills, while Megan Schroeder led Mayo with 10 digs. Molly Carlson had nine digs and Laura Carlson eight. Brittini Hoosier led the Spartans with 19 set assists.


Mayo 16 5 17

Shakopee 25 25 25

Mayo (21-10): Bevy Lehman 2 aces, 2 kills, 5 digs; Brittini Hoosier 19 assists, 2 kills, 5 digs; Laura Carlson 8 digs, 3 kills; Miranda Hurlebaus 1 kill, 1 block; Brittany Looker 11 kills, 5 digs, 2 blocks, 1 ace; Megan Schroeder 10 digs, 3 kills; Molly Carlson 9 digs.

Shakopee (29-2): Elizabeth Benusa 8 kills, 10 digs, 1 ace; Jean Theis 6 kills, 2 blocks; Claire Sames 4 kills, 1 block; Ashley Wittman 20 kills, 18 digs, 2 blocks; Mariah Monnens 6 kills, 9 digs, 2 blocks; Megan Westlund 17 assists, 1 kill, 1 dig; Amelia Yager 18 assists, 2 kills, 7 digs; Alyson Temp 1 kill, 2 digs; Mollie Geske 12 digs.

What To Read Next
Get Local