North Branch knew it came into the Class 2A semifinal against powerhouse Marshall with its six state titles. The Vikings also came in as prepared, coach Mike Selbitschka said.
It showed. The Vikings (29-3) defeated No. 2 seed Marshall 25-16, 25-10, 25-21 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center.
"Our attack was on," Selbitschka aid. "We just kept the pressure on them."
Cianna Selbitschka showed she can end points from all over the court. She tallied three of her 27 kills in a 9-1 run that her team used to start the second set. She also sealed the trip to the championship match on Saturday with a powerful kill on match point. She has 53 kills for the tournament.
"I'm always told to always attack," Selbitschka said.
Coach Selbitschka, Cianna's father, acknowledged her as a leader but also said it takes the entire team to make them roll. Haley Hadrava had two kills and 10 digs, while senior Katelyn Berg led with 12 digs and added three kills.
Marshall coach Dan Westby said because of what Cianna Selbitschka does, the rest of her teammates become like sharks smelling blood in the water.
"I was really impressed with how hard they attacked," Westby said.
The Tigers (27-8) couldn't get anything going, Westby said. They finished with 20 errors and 21 kills.
Maple Lake 3, Holy Angels 0: Maple Lake didn't have much of a game plan going into its Class 1A semifinal on Friday, according to coach Mary Kiebel. But whatever the Irish do seems to work.
"I think it's really cool how we're 35-0, and tomorrow we have a chance to be 36-0," senior Amber Klug said. She spent some time researching records for teams that had accomplished the feat. "I honestly hope that we're one of them," she said.
The Irish will try for back-to-back state titles after their 25-15, 26-24, 25-11 sweep of Holy Angels.
In the second set, the Irish showed why they have won 43 consecutive matches going back to last year. They were down 16-10 before rallying with a 9-0 run. Holy Angels tried to come back late in the set but couldn't stop the Irish from taking a commanding 2-0 lead.
Maple Lake scattered aces throughout the match, especially in the third set. Brynn Paumen led with 11 kills. Klug added 10 digs and five kills.
"We had a tough serve," Kiebel said.
The Stars (28-4) were held to a .019 hit percentage and registered just 21 kills for the match, led by Ellie Koontz with seven.