By Brady Ambrose
The Caledonia volleyball team’s tournament run ended Saturday when the Warriors lost a tough, five-set match to Dover-Eyota 25-21, 17-25, 12-25, 25-21, 13-15 at Rochester. The Eagles won the decisive fifth set 15-13 to end Caledonia’s season at 14-18.
D-E avenged an early-season, 3-0 loss to Caledonia Sept. 10. “We played some good volleyball in the first set,” coach Scott Koepke said.
The Eagles recorded wins in the second and third sets when the Warriors struggled with their passing. Koepke said, “Set two and three Dover played very well, and we had a harder time getting our passes to the target. We certainly want to give Dover-Eyota credit. They played great defense in those two sets, and Brandi Blattner was attacking very well.” Blattner finished the match with 28 kills, 26 digs, two blocks and three ace serves to lead D-E.
Caledonia then bounced back and won the fourth set 25-21. “Sets four and five I was very proud of how we fought back from deficits and we came very close in set five to pulling it out,” Koepke said. “The girls worked very hard to get their posture lower. We were down quite a bit late in set five, and the girls really focused and played some great volleyball but, like I said, came up a bit short.”
Lottie Augedahl led Caledonia with 17 kills, 22 digs and 3 ace serves, and Ashley Bichel had 15 kills to go along with 41 assists from Adrianna Reinhart and 10 kills and 17 digs from Lauren Rusert. Alexy Bearbower also had 18 digs.
Caledonia opened up the tournament with a 25-19, 17-25, 25-14, 25-11 win over La Crescent Thursday. after winning the first set Caledonia dropped the second before sweeping the final two. In the third set Caledonia used a 5-1 run and took a 12-8 lead that they extended to 20-11. A kill from Sam Schroeder made the score 23-13, and a kill from Mckenzie Denstad pushed the margin to 24-14 as the Warriors rolled to the 11 point win.
In set four Caledonia again jumped out to a big lead at 11-3 on a kill from Lauren Rusert. Denstad put the Warriors up 16-4, and a block by Lottie Augedahl kept the Warriors in control at 20-8. With a 24-11 lead, Sam Schroeder put the exclamation mark on the win with a big spike that gave Caledonia 25-11 win in the fourth set.
“We’ve played La Crescent a few times in the opening round and they are always very scrappy,” Koepke said. “They’re always very intense, and they played hard. I thought we lost our energy a little bit in that second set and started making some errors, but I thought we had several kids step up in those last two sets and play very well.”