Heritage Christian Academy, a small private school in Maple Grove (enrollment 142), finished fourth in the Class 1A tournament, falling to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (TMB) in three sets in the third-place match. The Eagles had defeated TMB for third place a year ago.
Coach Tom Fuglestad said making back-to-back state tournament appearances has put the Heritage program on the volleyball map.
“This is a special group, with seniors Bella [Lien], Maddy [Torve] and Sarah [Suits] kind of being the core since seventh grade,” Fuglestad said. “They’ve done a lot for our program.”
Lien, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker, acknowledged disappointment in not winning a state championship but sees the value in what the Eagles accomplished.
“We put up a heck of a fight,” she said following a five-set loss to Mayer Lutheran in the semifinals Friday. “It was disappointing in almost getting to the state championship, but I’m very proud of this team and what we’ve done.”
There wasn’t the normal Caledonia fan contingent to cheer on the Warriors in the Class 1A championship match.
The Caledonia football team, the defending Class 2A champion, was playing Lakeview in the 2A state quarterfinals at the same time. Caledonia won the game 58-16.
Third place, consolation
Lakeville South made its first state tournament trip a successful one, winning the Class 3A third-place title by defeating Hopkins 25-20, 25-18, 25-10. Jenny Mosser bounced back from her toughest outing of the season in the semifinals against Eagan with 21 kills for the Cougars. Future Gopher Jaz Martin had 14 kills for Hopkins.
In Class 2A, No. 1-seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo, which lost to Concordia Academy in five sets in the semifinals, salvaged the third-place trophy by beating Kasson-Mantorville 28-26, 25-23, 25-14.
In Class 1A, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton downed Heritage Christian 25-19, 25-11, 26-24.
Consolation winners were Underwood (1A), Morris Area (2A) and Prior Lake (3A).