Maple Lake senior Amber Klug and three of her volleyball teammates who played in Saturday's title match also played on the top-seeded softball team last spring, falling 4-1 in its championship game.
"So we really just did not want that to happen again," Klug said.
But volleyball has been perfection for the Irish. They completed a perfect season — 36-0 — with a 25-18, 25-19, 25-21 sweep of No. 3 seed North Branch to win back-to-back Class 2A championships.
"Throughout the whole season, we got every team's best game," senior Linsey Rachel said. "It was fun because it was awesome competition, and we obviously did not want to lose."
Rachel led the way with 20 kills and 11 digs. She finished the tournament with 44 kills.
Maple Lake coach Marty Kiebel cited one of his team's strengths at the tournament and throughout the season. With each rotation, Maple Lake always had two or three weapons up front along with a solid back row, he said.
That depth came up in the third set against the Vikings, which started as a back-and-forth affair.
"I think I said, 'I don't know who's going to have the run for us,' " Kiebel said. "Part of that is, just because of the balance and the strength of the team."
Kiebel pictured Brynn Paumen serving eight, nine, 10 balls in a row at the St. Michael-Albertville tournament. Or there was the time Rachel was serving short, deep, everywhere to keep the opponent on its heels; she forced the opponent to call a timeout after six or seven consecutive points for the Irish.
Even if they get a few points behind in a set, the Irish don't let up. Any number of the Irish hitters, passers or servers could get hot, Kiebel said. They trailed 14-11 in the second set before winning the next seven points.
"Good teams that continue to put high pressure on their opponents tend to start to pull away toward the middle … 15 to 18 points," Vikings coach Mike Selbitschka said. "And that's exactly what they did to us."
Vikings sophomore Cianna Selbitschka led her team with 14 kills and 10 digs, her lowest kill total of the tournament. That likely stemmed from the blocking efforts of such Irish players as senior Brynn Paumen and her junior sister, Brielle.
"It was frustrating," Selbitschka said.
The Irish have won 44 consecutive matches. Their last loss was to DeLaSalle 2-1 on Oct. 25, 2016.