By Brady Ambrose
Back-to-back games on Oct. 14 and 15 against a couple of pretty good opponents gave Caledonia volleyball fans a pretty good look at how far the Warriors have come this season.
On Oct. 14 Caledonia traveled to Spring Grove to take on the Lions in the annual “Dig Pink” night and came home with a 27-25, 25-16, 26-28, 25-17 win over the Lions, who post a 16-8-4 overall record and are 10-3 in the Southeast conference.
Coach Scott Koepke said, “The Spring Grove match was a great night. It was our Dig Pink night and Michelle Anderson and all her coaches did such a great job getting the gym looking so festive. We would like to thank all the fans who travelled over to Spring Grove to support the cause and the team.”
Lottie Augedahl led Caledonia with 14 kills and 28 digs, and Lauren Rusert added 12 more kills and 16 digs in the win. Adrianna Reinhart had 40 assists, and the Warriors also recorded 10 ace serves with Sam Schroeder tallying four.
“The girls played very hard and put together some very nice volleyball,” Koepke said. “Spring Grove played very well in set four, and I was proud how we kept at it in set four.”
The next night Caledonia hosted the #1 ranked team in the state in class A, the Fillmore Central Falcons. They are the winners of 18 straight matches and also feature one of the better players in the state in senior Taylor Case, an honorable mention all-state pick a year ago as a junior.
But despite the opponent, Caledonia put up a great battle before eventually falling to the Falcons 23-25, 16-25, 26-28.
“We blocked some balls against some really good attackers. I thought we passed the ball great, and we served really well and played really good defense,” Koepke said after the game.
In all three games the Warriors led in the early going, only to watch the Falcons battle back and eventually take the lead. In game one Caledonia started out with a 6-1 run to open the game – as Rusert put down a pair of kills – but Fillmore Central then scored five straight points to tie the game at 6-6. Rusert then served up a pair of aces to put the Warriors back in front, and kills from Sam Schroeder and Augedahl pushed the lead to 11-8.
Caledonia then rattled off three straight points to go up 14-9 and forced the Falcons to call a timeout. The Falcons then scored three straight points and took off on a 10-5 run to knot the score at 19 all.
With the score still tied at 21-21, Caledonia regained the lead on a tip kill from Schroeder. But again the Falcons stormed back, taking a 24-23 lead on a big spike from Case and winning game one when the senior ripped another kill down the line for a 25-23 win.
The Warriors then took a lead early in game two, scoring the first three points, but again Fillmore Central rallied and took a 6-5 lead. A 5-1 run by the Falcons forced Caledonia to call a timeout, but Fillmore went up 19-9 on an ace serve from Tayah Barnes.
Caledonia got within single-digits at 21-12 on a kill from Augedahl, but the Falcons cruised to a 25-16 win in game two.
Game three turned into a great match as the two teams battled back-and-forth to an 8-8 tie in the early going. The Warriors went up 11-8 on a kill from Ashley Bichel and extended the lead to 13-9 on a blast from Augedahl.
Trailing 15-11 Fillmore Central then went on an 8-4 run to tie the game at 19 all, but the Warriors took a 23-21 lead when Case sailed a kill attempt wide. Caledonia got within a point of winning the game at 24-22, but kills from Case and Leah Scheevel knotted the score again at 24 all. Sam Schroeder put the Warriors up 25-24 with a kill but again Fillmore Central answered with a Scheevel score.
Caledonia regained the lead at 26-25, but Scheevel put down her third straight kill to tie the game again.
The Falcons took the lead at 27-26 when Augedahl sailed a kill attempt long, and Fillmore won the game and the match when Case put a little drop kill into the open court for the 28-26 final.
“I thought to their credit they made some good plays,” Koepke said. “That stretch in the third set, it wasn’t a shot that they hit that landed somewhere – they hit some balls. The role shot that Taylor (Case) hit was really good, and the swing they have in the middle is really good also, but I like the way we are playing right now.”
Lauren Rusert had six kills, four ace serves and 12 digs for the Warriors with Lottie Augedahl adding eight kills and 19 digs in the match.
Warriors get #2 seed
Caledonia got some great news when they were given the #2 seed in the class AA section 1 tournament. With the seed the Warriors will host the seventh seeded La Crescent Lancers at home Thursday night at 7 p.m. A win Thursday will then send Caledonia to Rochester where they would play the winner of the Winona Cotter vs. Dover-Eyota match. Chatfield has been given the #1 seed in the section.