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Bemidji volleyball team advances to section final

The North Sub-Section of 8-3A volleyball flexed its muscles Tuesday and Friday's section championship match will pit Bemidji, the third seed from the North, against Fergus Falls, the top seed from the North.

The Lumberjacks advanced to the section title match by stomping Monticello, the top seed from the South, 25-21, 25-14, 25-14 Tuesday in Monticello.

Fergus Falls earned its trip to the final by defeating Sauk Rapids, the No. 3 seed from the South, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23.

Friday's championship will be played at a neutral site but exactly where won't be determined until sometime Wednesday.

"We had a very good showing," said BHS coach Teresa Colligan whose team improved to 23-8. "It took us a little while to get into our game but once we did we played very well."

Bemidji's secret was to attack on both sides of the net. Defensively the Lumberjacks concentrated on stopping Monticello's threats and the team approach and overall hustle resulted in a smothering defense that either blocked the kill attempts or kept the play alive with a dig.

"We had a ton of blocks. We were in position to contest every shot," Colligan said. "We just took the momentum out of their hitters with our blocking. In this match we have to give credit to the defense."

Blake Bardwell paced the defensive net game with five blocks while Jenna Sagedahl, Jess Yost and Allie Heifort each contributed four.

Sagedahl also hit the floor for 17 digs. Bri Thorson and Yost each finished with 15 and Hanna Olson 10.

The match's only dramatics came in the first game as both teams made a few runs.

"We would get a lead and they would get a lead but in the end we fought our way back," Colligan said. "In the second and third games we started strong and were in control the entire way."

Bemidji and Fergus Falls (23-5) met earlier this season at a tournament hosted by Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall. In that contest the Otters posted a 25-22, 17-25, 15-12 win.

If the Lumberjacks play Friday like they did Tuesday, however, a trip to the state tournament is well within reach.

"The girls played relaxed and composed," Colligan said of Tuesday's performance. "Our objective was for the girls to do their jobs and they did."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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