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
|Atlanta - LP: J. Johnson||0||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: K. Giles||1|
|NY Mets - LP: J. deGrom||1||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda||6|
|Boston - WP: A. Ogando||7||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz||5|
|Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar||13||FINAL|
|Detroit - LP: S. Greene||1|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Motte||7||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: B. Badenhop||3|
|Washington - LP: T. Roark||2||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: B. Morris||3|
|Toronto - LP: R. Dickey||3||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Dominguez||12|
|St. Louis - WP: C. Martinez||3||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza||0|
|San Francisco - LP: C. Heston||4||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: E. Butler||6|
|Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole||4||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter||1|
|Houston - WP: L. Gregerson||5||FINAL|
|Oakland - LP: E. O`Flaherty||4|
|Texas - LP: K. Kela||2||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: G. Richards||3|
|Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke||3||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: A. Cashner||0|
|Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes||0||FINAL|
|Seattle - WP: F. Hernandez||2|
|New York City||0||FINAL|