Lakeville South defeated crosstown-rival Lakeville North 3-2 to win the Class 3A, Section 1 volleyball championship in Rochester on Saturday afternoon.
Jasmine Weidemann made a kick save for the Cougars on a kill attempt in the fifth and deciding set that kept the ball in play. It led to South winning the final set 18-16.
"I saw it coming, and I knew I wasn't going to get my hands there in time," said Weidemann, a sophomore in her third year playing varsity. "So I just stuck my foot out."
The state tournament begins Thursday at Xcel Energy Center. Seeds and brackets will released Sunday.
Weidemann had 57 assists while Jasmine Mulvihill had 25 kills for the Cougars.
Elizabeth Juhnke had 24 kills and 21 digs for the Panthers, and Amelia Wherland had 53 assists.
The teams played twice in the regular season, with Lakeville South winning in five sets in September and Lakeville North winning in a three-set tournament match on Oct. 13. In those games, each team won four sets and accumulated 162 points.
"I would put my team and my program over the past five years among the top programs in the state," said Lakeville South coach Stephen Willingham. "But the fact of it is Lakeville North is our neighbor and they have one of the great programs."
The Cougars (27-4) victory captures the second trip to the state tournament in three years. The loss denies the Panthers a chance to repeat as state champions. They have been to eight state tournaments over the past 13 years, winning three times.
In other 3A section championships:
Section 2: Shakopee's taller lineup gave Minnetonka fits at the net as the Sabers rolled to a 25-22, 25-12, 25-16 triumph. Shakopee is headed back to the state tournament for the first time since 2012, when it finished fourth.
Section 3: Eagan will make its sixth consecutive state tournament appearance after defeating East Ridge 25-21, 25-13, 25-18. The top-seeded Wildcats (27-2) were the state tournament runner-up a year ago. Sophomore setter Kennedi Orr had 16 assists and 14 kills for the winners.
Section 6: Edina and Armstrong alternated winning the first four sets before Edina won the deciding fifth set 15-6. The Hornets will make their first trip to the state tournament.
Section 5: Top-seeded Watertown-Mayer lost the first set 25-20 to Totino-Grace but won the next three 25-20, 25-16, 25-21. Nikki McDonald led the way with 41 assists. Her main targets were Paige Thibault and Kylie Hoese, who had 17 and 15 kills, respectively. This will be the second consecutive trip to the state tournament for Watertown-Mayer. The Royals beat Totino-Grace in last year's section final, too.
Section 7: Last year's Class 2A state tournament runner-up, North Branch, is headed back to the state championships after beating Greenway 25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16. Cianna Selbitschka led the Vikings with 21 kills and 18 digs. Reagan Irons added 14 kills, and Paige Sheehan had 43 assists.
Section 4: For the second consecutive year, New Life Academy knocked off top-seeded Nova Classical in three straight games, 25-20, 25-18, 25-16.