Anoka's Kelci Green jumped toward the net to play a ball with the season on the line and saw something unexpected.
"I didn't see a block," Green said, "so I swung away,"
Her kill clinched the Class 3A, Section 7 championship against St. Francis 24-26, 25-9, 23-25, 25-18, 15-10, sending the Tornadoes to state for the first time since 2003.
The Saints beat Anoka 3-2 on Aug. 28.
Nerves and big-game inexperience led to sloppy moments for both teams throughout Saturday's match at Andover High School.
St. Francis won Game 1 on Maggie Ewen's touch kill at the net. The Tornadoes roared back to run away with Game 2 25-9. Two late Ewen kills helped clinch Game 3 25-23 and put St. Francis ahead 2-1.
Anoka (23-7) jumped out to an 18-8 lead in the fourth set, relying on Kelci and twin sister Kassi's strong play in the middle. But St. Francis (21-9) battled back with an 8-0 surge that forced the Tornadoes into gut-check mode.
"We told ourselves to regroup and calm down because we were still up by a lot," junior Megan Lindenfelser said. Anoka closed out the game on a 7-2 run.
The momentum carried over to the fifth set, in which Anoka went ahead 4-0 en route to clinching a state tournament appearance.
Lindenfelser said her team broke down the deciding match into "mini-games to five. We got to five and we got to 10 first and that's when we knew we had this."
DAVID LA VAQUE
|Chicago Cubs - WP: B. Parker||6||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover||4|
|Philadelphia - WP: D. Buchanan||9||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza||1|
|Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir||6||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson||1|
|Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario||3||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: A. Miller||4|
|Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez||3||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: W. Chen||4|
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Thornton||3||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco||9|
|Atlanta - WP: A. Harang||3||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: B. Colon||1|
|Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez||9||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: S. Miller||1|
|LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago||15||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: C. Lewis||6|
|Detroit - WP: D. Smyly||16||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie||4|
|San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne||1||FINAL|
|Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw||2|
|Minnesota - WP: Y. Pino||4||FINAL|
|Seattle - LP: T. Wilhelmsen||2|
|Calgary||7/12/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||7/12/14 8:30 PM|
|Edmonton||7/17/14 7:30 PM|
|Toronto||7/18/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||7/18/14 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||7/19/14 6:00 PM|
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