Mayo attacks from everywhere, rolls to section finals

When Rochester Mayo went on the road to face Owatonna's volleyball team in late September, the Spartans dropped the first set to the Huskies, then settled down and rolled to a 3-1 victory.

The two teams met again on Thursday, this time at Mayo High School in the Section 1AAA semifinals. The script was far different, but the result was the same, with No. 2 seed Mayo claiming a 3-1 win over No. 6 seed Owatonna. The Spartans advance to the section championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Mayo Civic Center against No. 1 seed Lakeville South.

The Spartans (26-3) cruised in the first set, with senior outside hitter Anna Winter scoring early and often from the left side. The final point came off a resounding kill by sophomore middle hitter Jade Boysen.

The second set was more tightly contested, but with the score knotted at 21, junior outside hitter Kate Holtan pounded a kill down the right side that brought roars from the crowd and seemed to ignite her team. Holtan, who had 12 kills and 19 digs, then proceeded to serve out the set.

"Once I got that big hit, I just wanted to finish it out on my serve," Holtan said.


But the Huskies refused to go quietly. Behind strong play from senior outside hitter Carli Langeland, Owatonna jumped out to an early lead, then seemed to get the Spartans back on their heels, scrambling and often out of position.

Mayo head coach Deb Frederick called two timeouts to try to bring some order back to her team's defense, but to no avail.

"It's OK to scramble sometimes, but we lost our communication a little bit, perhaps had sinking hearts a little bit in that third set," she said. Before the fourth set began, she delivered a message to her team. "I told them, 'This is your home court — use that. Use that feeling, and take care of the ball.' "

Message received. Any momentum the Huskies had gained in the third set vanished quickly as the Spartans raced to a 7-2 lead. The attacks came from all over — left side, right side and middle — and the Huskies simply didn't have enough blockers to stem the tide as Mayo raced to a 25-12 win to clinch the match.

Frederick said her team's multiple weapons made the difference.

"Owatonna knows all about Kate Holtan and Anna Winter, and they know they have to defend those kids, but when the other kids step up and play their game, it opens the net up for everyone," she said.

"In game four tonight, all of our hitters came to play, and that just made a huge difference. Kiarra Harden really stepped up her game — for her, it was one of her best nights."

Harden, a junior middle hitter, finished with six kills, five blocks and three aces.


Winter, who had 13 kills and 7 digs, was quick to pass the credit along to someone other than Mayo's talented hitters. "Our setter (sophomore Lexie Lang) was making a lot of really good choices to get the hitters open and draw the block away from the hitters," she said.

Fittingly, it was Lang who served out the match, ending things with her fourth booming ace of the night.

Mayo 3, Owatonna 1



No. 6 Owatonna:Sydney Schultz 9 kills; Carlie Langeland 8 kills.

No. 2 Mayo:Kate Holtan 12 kills, 19 digs; Hallie Olson 7 digs; Lexie Lang 36 assists, 3 blocks, 4 aces; Kat Maas 5 kills; Kiarra Harden 6 kills, 5 blocks, 3 aces; Anna Winter 13 kills, 7 digs, 2 aces; Siennah Stamness 2 aces; Jade Boysen 3 kills.

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