First a challenge, then a title for Bethlehem

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 10, 2012 - 8:52 PM

Bethlehem Academy trailed in the third set of a 1-1 match before rallying for its third state championship in the past four years.


Bethlehem Academy's Payton Schultz pumped her fist as she celebrated with teammates after defeating Southwest Christian in the Class 1A volleyball finals

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There is a reason Bethlehem Academy volleyball coach Franz Boelter makes his team battle through one of the toughest schedules in the state. That reason stared the Cardinals in the face midway through the third set of the Class 1A championship match against Southwest Christian.

After easing through their first two matches without dropping a set, the Cardinals trailed the Stars 13-4 midway through the third. With the teams already tied at a set apiece, it was this one was not going to be easy.

"That's a good team over there," Boelter said. "Some of the things they did surprised us."

The Cardinals responded when needed, relying on air-tight defense and collective volleyball IQ to rally past the Stars 25-20, 18-25, 25-22, 25-22 for their sixth Class 1A state championship since 2003 and third in the past four years.

"We knew we had to kick it into high gear," said senior middle hitter Maddie Borwege, who paced the Cardinals with 25 kills.

The Cardinals leaned on their cornerstone defense, making the Stars work even harder just to keep points alive. As it had so often this season, the approach worked. Bethlehem Academy, a Faribault Catholic school of 195 students, wrested the momentum from Southwest Christian by scoring 10 of 11 points, turning a 13-4 deficit into a 15-14 lead.

"They just made their defense that much better," said Greg Sayuk, whose Stars were playing in their first state championship match. "You really have to work for your points against them."

The teams came into the game with 17 combined losses, but that was a reflection of scheduling, each frequently playing larger schools in hope that tough regular-season matchups would translate into postseason victories.

"That prepared us so much for this and everything we were going to see," Borwege said. "We weren't nervous at all. We just wanted to get out and play."

That experience was evident from the outset. Great plays were frequent, unforced errors few.

After rallying for the crucial third-set victory, the Cardinals took control in the final set, breaking a 16-16 tie by scoring six of the next seven points.

"This never gets old," said senior outside hitter Jessie Mathews, her eyes red from crying following the final match of her high school career. "This is special."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Cincinnati 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Baltimore 0
NY Yankees 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Toronto 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 1st Inning
NY Mets 0
Boston 0 Top 1st Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 7 1st Qtr 9:56
Connecticut 0
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8:00 PM
UNLV 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota 9:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters