The Caledonia volleyball team wrapped up a marathon stretch of eight matches in six days after they competed at the Class AA Showcase Invitational in Burnsville Friday and Saturday.
The Warriors made the trip north after going 1-1 during the week, losing to a strong Mabel-Canton team 3-0 Sept. 16 at home and then bouncing back with a wild, 3-2 win at home over Cotter Thursday night. On Monday the Mabel-Canton Cougars brought their 11-0-1 record to Caledonia and left with a 25-17, 25-13, 25-10 win over the Warriors. The Cougars, ranked #5 in Minnesota in class A, got 16 kills from Belle Sand, 13 kills from Lydia Geving and 39 assists from Carly McCabe 39.
Caledonia bounced back on Thursday night and battled to a 3-2 win over Cotter after falling behind 2-1. The evening started well for the Warriors with the team taking game one 25-16. Leading 16-11, the girls went on a 7-3 run, taking a 23-14 lead on a line-drive serve from Sophia Augedahl and continued on to the 25-16 win.
“We are really working on letting things that don’t go our way go,” coach Scott Koepke said. “We’re trying to be energetic and not let those things get in the way of our energy. We just want to play one set like that, and I thought we did the fourth and fifth set tonight.”
In game two the teams battled back-and-forth to an 18-18 tie. The Warriors went up 20-18, but the Ramblers tied the game at 21-all and then went up 23-21 when Lottie Augedahl sailed a kill attempt wide. Cotter gave up a point when Mikala Nelton’s kill was long, but the Ramblers scored the next two points to win game two 25-22. Caledonia responded in game three, doubling-up the Ramblers 14-7. A kill from Sam Schroeder put the Warriors up 16-7, and a block from the freshman middle-hitter extended the lead to 20-10. Cotter made a run and closed the gap to 23-17, but a kill from Ashley Bichel put Caledonia up 24-17. A kill from Lauren Rusert gave game four to the Warriors, 25-19.
The win set up a decisive game five and Caledonia jumped out to a 5-2 lead. After a Cotter timeout the Ramblers closed the gap to 7-5, but the Warriors went up 10-5 on a Lottie Augedahl kill. The Warriors extended the lead to 14-8 on a Bichel spike and won game five – and the match – on a kill from Rusert to give Caledonia a 15-9 win in game five and a 3-2 match win. “We just want to keep improving,” Koepke said. “This is a big step because if you can play with a great attitude and have fun the other stuff comes a lot easier.”
On Friday and Saturday Caledonia played six matches in Burnsville and finished 2-3-1, beating both Wadena-Deer Creek and Greenway by 2-0 scores. The Warriors lost to St. Croix Lutheran 2-0, Albany 2-1 and LeSueur-Henderson 2-1. The Warriors also tied with Jordan 1-1 as their record moved to 6-9-1 overall.
The Warriors will host Southland Thursday night.
– Brady Ambrose