Volleyball: North loses a heartbreaker to Roseville in Section 4 championship

The semifinal rounds of the Section 4AAA Volleyball were played Oct. 28, at the Hall Norgard Gymnasium at North High.

The two matches played involved Cretin-Derham Hall (No. 3 seed) versus Roseville (2), and East Ridge (4) facing North (1).

The results bore the wisdom of the seeding process as North and Roseville won their matches and squaread off in the Section 4AAA championship game.

North 3 - East Ridge 0

Although the Polars never trailed the Raptors, they played with the ferocity of a team backed against a wall.

When asked about the relative ease with which North dispensed of East Ridge, North High coach Steve Anderson stated, "I don't know if it was easy. Our girls play exceptionally well on defense.

"East Ridge did some things to put pressure on us. Our girls responded well. We dug some balls I didn't think they were going to keep alive.

"Our effort on defense was huge tonight. That helped on offense. We were able to keep the ball in play and that helped us put the ball down. They were able to extend play. The long volleys were mostly won by us."

Asked about the next match with Roseville, Anderson said, "We played them earlier this year. We won in four sets, but it was close. Each set went to just a two or three point difference. It will be a dog fight but here we go."

In each of the three games won by North they were never threatened. They displayed an absolutely solid and tenacious defense, which provided their staunch offense with opportunities not wasted.

Against the Raptors the Polars won in three sets 25-18, 25-9 and 25-16.

Gaining notability in the statistics were: Kills - Nevena Vukomanovich 12, Sophie Cave 7, and Abby Rieser and Megan Rubbelke 6 each. Set assists - Rubbelke 25. Digs - Vukomanovich 13 and Clara Krenz 12. Blocks - Sarah Mullen 2.5, Cave 2 and Rieser 1.5.

Roseville 3 - North 2

After defeating Cretin-Derham Hall, 3-1, Roseville advanced to the section championship against North High Friday, Oct. 30 at Washington High School.

The match featured some almost impossible digs and nearly vicious kills for points that brought cheers and oohs from the fans.

The end result was a 3-2 win and return to the state tournament for the Raiders.

Roseville claimed the first two games, then lost the next two before gaining the upper hand in the fifth game.

"The girls played so hard. They just didn't give up. To be down by two sets and then to battle back, that was amazing," stated North head coach Steve Anderson.

"To win that third set by 26-24, we showed we had the strength not to fold. These girls played with a heart.

"In the past two years in the finals we have lost in three sets. I feel we really deserve to go the state tournament, but so does Roseville. It was a very good match."

Roseville coach Greg Ueland agreed. "That was a battle for a lifetime for us. North St. Paul is great. They are one of the very best teams in the state.

"I can't say enough about how our girls battled and fought tonight. To go up two zero and almost have it in game three and then have to battle back. We had to fight some demons before we were able to win that fifth game. I'm so very proud of our girls," Ueland said.

The first game began as a precursor to what was in store for the remainder of the night.

In a seesaw contest - it was knotted up on no less that 18 times, the last at 24-24 - Roseville eked out a 26-24 first-game win.

Game two was not much different. Roseville broke from a 14-14 tie and began to score two or three points each time they gained a side-out. The Raiders claimed the second game 25-21.

The third game was somewhat different in that first one side, then the other, would gain a two- or three-point spread. With both teams playing like the season was about to end, Roseville gained a 22-19 margin. North came back to level the count and with a huge kill moved to a 23-22 advantage.

Roseville knotted the score at 23, again at 24 and once more at 25. North got the serve and Megan Rubbelke moved to the service line and served the deciding points in a 26-24 North win.

In game four the Polars broke from a 10-10 tie and began scoring in spurts. Rubbelke served and the Polars won a few long volleys as the score moved to 20-13 before North closed the Raiders out with a 25-19 game that moved the match to a fifth and deciding 15-point final.

The last match of the year for the Polars was one in which they fought hard but committed some unforced errors that hurt.

At 9-9 the Raiders' Haley Kauth serve four straight and moved the game to within two at 13-9. The Polars gained a point and then two points, but a simply huge kill by Monica Burich gave the ball to the Raiders.

Nina Carmichael-Tanaka then served the match winning point and Roseville (25-4) was headed to the state tournament for the second time in three years. North, meanwhile, finished the season 28-3.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com.


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