1. Rematch in the wings
After staging one of the most dramatic games in state tournament history, Park Center and Marshall are on opposite sides of the bracket and could meet again. The odds are less in their favor, however. Defending champion Park Center, which won in three overtimes last March, is the No. 2 seed while Marshall is the fourth seed. Both teams are tournament tested. Marshall enjoys the bonus of having nine players with volleyball state tournament experience. Dan Westby coaches both squads. Park Center is at full strength this year. Senior guard Hannah Schaub, who leads the team in assists and committed to Valparaiso, missed the postseason because of a knee injury last season.
2. Pushover becomes power
No. 1 seed Orono earned its favorite status. Current seniors Rachel Heussner, Kiera Nelson and Sydney Reiners played big varsity minutes due to injuries as ninth-graders and went 3-24. The Class of 2015 improved to 13-14 and then 19-8. They enter the tournament 28-1, having grown from pushover to power. The Spartans’ average victory margin this season is 26 points. They were undefeated in the Wright County Conference.
3. Meeting again
Familiarity exists in two quarterfinal matchups. Andy Fenske, coach of No. 5 seed Princeton, graduated from No. 4 seed Marshall. A rematch takes place when No. 3 New Prague takes on Kasson-Mantorville. They met on Jan. 20, a 74-56 victory for New Prague in a crossover game between the gold and blue divisions of the Hiawatha Valley League. New Prague’s Maizie Deihl scored career point No. 1,000 earlier this season. KoMets senior guard Cori Kennedy has 1,482 career points, second all-time in school history.
DAVID LA VAQUE