’s hold on the top spot in Class 3A volleyball has likely lasted a whopping four days.
Flashes of Saturday’s brilliance that brought the Trojans a 2-1 come-from-behind win over then-top-ranked Lakeville
North in the championship match of the Apple Valley
Eagle Invitational showed early Wednesday night in Lakeville. The rematch, though, went to the Panthers. And how.
Lakeville North treated its fans to a 3-0 domination, winning 27-25, 25-12, 25-15.
“I didn’t expect 3-0,” Panthers assistant coach Doug Bergman said.
Who would? Even the PA announcer declared "Tonight should be a dandy!" just before first serve.
The teams entered Wednesday’s match with two losses on the season combined: to each other. Lakeville North won the first meeting in the Southwest Minnesota Challenge tournament on Sept 11. Then came Wayzata’s win on Saturday.
Wednesday, Wayzata (16-2) jumped out to a 6-2 game-one lead, then went up 10-6 before Panthers coach Milan Mader elected to take a timeout.
“We just talked about a couple of minor things,” said Bergman, Mader’s right-hand man. “It really came down to players doing their jobs. A little more effort.”
Funny how those simple words changed so much.
Lakeville North (15-1) tied the first game 11-11 on a point initially given to Wayzata, and staved off a furious effort by the Trojans en route to the 1-0 match lead.
From there, it was the freshman show.
Outside hitters Alyssa Goehner and Taylr McNeil, who along with libero Abby Monson start as freshmen for the Panthers, combined for 33 kills in the match to lead the winning attack, which was rarely in doubt as the night went on.
“That’s been their modus operandi all year with those two,” Bergman said. “We kept finding the right matchup for them. We like to run a balanced offense, but you know what? When they’re getting the ball and hitting that well, we like going to them.”
McNeil, like her sister, senior setter Kellie, has already committed to playing for the Gophers in college.
The raucous Lakeville North student section – complete early with an 11-member drum line – let everyone know the McNeil’s future by chanting “She-s a Go-pher” every time either of them made a play.
“We really wanted to come out here and play our best game,” Taylr McNeil said. “We knew this was a big one for everybody on both sides.”
Just one more of what will no doubt be many to come for McNeil and her two teammates with three whole years of eligibility remaining.
“Our senior year,” Taylr McNeil said. “It’s going to be crazy.”