After compiling a 13-15 record in the regular season, Elk River was made the No. 4 seed for the Class 3A, Section 7 state volleyball playoffs.
On Saturday at Andover, the Elks swept past two-time defending section champion Forest Lake 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 to capture their first-ever berth in the state tournament.
Elle Cotton, a sophomore, and Kennedy Gleason, a senior, each had eight kills to lead the Elks.
The Elks (16-15) defeated fifth-seeded Grand Rapids in the quarterfinals and knocked off top-seeded Andover 3-1 in the semifinals to reach the Section 7 final.
The loss ended an eight-match winning streak for Forest Lake (20-10), the No. 2 seed.
Forest Lake swept Elk River in a September meeting at Elk River.
In other Class 3A matches:
Section 1: Lakeville North defeated crosstown rival Lakeville South 25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21. The Panthers’ victory avenged a loss to Lakeville South in last year’s section final.
Section 2: Minnetonka outlasted Chaska 25-20, 25-15, 11-25, 14-25, 15-13 to capture its first berth in the state volleyball tournament since 1976. In the fifth game, Chaska jumped to an 8-4 lead, but the Skippers came back to tie the game 10-10. The teams were tied 13-13 before the Skippers put away the last two points.
Section 6: St. Louis Park and Bloomington Jefferson alternated winning the first four games before St. Louis Park won the deciding fifth game 15-13, clinching the Orioles’ first trip to the state tournament.
Section 1: Top-seeded Stewartville rolled to a 25-16, 20-25, 25-16, 25-20 triumph over Kasson-Mantorville. Stewartville’s Jaidyn Brower had 45 assists in the match to reach 1,000 for her career. With the help of front row hitters Erin Lamb and Kaitlyn Prondzinski, who had 16 and 14 kills, the Tigers will make their first state appearance since 2015. Emilee Terry had 18 kills and Noelle VanOort had 11 for the KoMets (27-8).
Section 2: Belle Plaine earned its first section title since 2015 with a 25-12, 25-18, 28-26 sweep of Le Sueur-Henderson at Mankato East.
Section 4: Concordia Academy won in straight sets over Holy Angels, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21, earning its fifth section title in six years. Junior outside hitter Kira Fallert had 19 kills, and Sydney Pelzer added 10 kills for the Beacons.
Section 5: Top-seeded Watertown-Mayer outlasted third-seeded Totino-Grace 25-17, 25-22, 23-25, 17-25, 15-13 at Bloomington Kennedy to earn its third consecutive section championship. Paige Thibault had 30 kills and Kate Thibault had 33 digs for Watertown-Mayer (24-6).
Section 7: Defending Class 2A state champion North Branch earned its third consecutive trip to the state tournament with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 victory over Proctor at Cloquet. Senior hitter Cianna Selbitschka led the Vikings with 16 kills. Kylie Kline and Macy Brodin each had 15 digs for the Vikings (27-4).
Section 1: Medford outlasted Mabel-Canton 25-14, 25-23, 19-25, 20-25, 15-12 in a rematch of last year’s section championship match. Junior middle hitter Kinsey Cronin had 22 kills for Medford, which was runner-up to Minneota at last year’s state tournament.
Section 2: Waterville-Elysian-Morristown rallied in the fifth set for a 20-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13 victory over Mayer Lutheran at Mankato East. The Buccaneers advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
Section 4: Mounds Park Academy will make its first state tournament appearance after defeating New Life Academy 25-12, 24-26, 25-20, 25-16. Else Kunze-Hoeg tallied 41 assists and sister Kaija Kunze-Hoeg had 18 kills for the 25-4 Panthers.
Section 3: Jackson County Central defeated Fairmont 36-12 in Janesville, Minn. This was the fifth consecutive year the two teams had played for the section title. Fairmont had won the last two section titles and was the Class 3A runner-up (to Rochester Lourdes) last year. Jackson County Central (10-0) will play Waseca in the Class 3A quarterfinals on Saturday at Lakeville South.