The Bethlehem Academy Cardinals finished their home season with a 3-1 win over the Goodhue Wildcats tonight.  The Cardinals won the first two sets 25-18, 25-23 before falling 25-19 in the third and running away with ther fourth set 25-11.

The Wildcats had a very athletic team with exceptional libero senior 5'5 Torrie Rehder and 8 seniors coming into Van Orsow Auditorium.

Bethlehem Academy has two seniors.  Libero Brianna Radatz and middle hitter Kennedy Tutak.  Both brought some great skills to the team.  Tutak an exceptional blocker.  Radatz an outstanding libero who just knows how to read the ball and keep points alive.

Radatz would have had 1,000 digs had the Cardinals been able to have a normal number of matches this year.  Barring injury there is no question she would have reached that milestone but she took it in stride when I asked her about that following the match.

Radatz is unsure about playing volleyball in college but might participate in track and doesn't know what her major will be yet.

Tutak wants to play college volleyball and pursue a career in psychology.  Tutak said her favorite part of volleyball is, "Being with my teammates."  Radatz echoed those thoughts saying this team, "Gets along so well."

This match was frankly BA's playoff match.  Likewise for Goodhue.  I could see these teams meeting in a Subsection title match this year.  Of course two time defending Subsection and Section Champion Medford would have something to say about that.

Bethlehem Academy defeated Medford twice during the regular season.  Goodhue's record is a bit misleading because they play in the primarily Class 2A Hiawatha Valley League.

The Wildcats (7-6) losses this year were to some very good teams in their conference.  Class 2A #1 rated Stewartville (Goodhue won a set against them).  Class 2A  #5 rated Kasson-Mantorville.  A tall Lake City team twice  (5 sets and 4 sets) and Byron (in 4 sets).

The Cardinals (9-1) only loss has been to #2 Class A rated Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.

The difference in the match in my opinion was better setting by Bethlehem Academy, a more varied attack and strong serving.

My unofficial statistics had the Cardinals with 44 total kills, Goodhue 38 kills.  The Wildcats according to my ledger finished with 37 errors while Bethlehem Academy had 27 mistakes.

The Cardinals were more patient during most points.  Goodhue attempted to end points early which is where the errors crept in.

Appropriately on the last point of the match Raddatz received serve, made a perfect pass to Kangas who set the ball to Tutak for the match winner.  You could not have scripted it better.  The two seniors involved in the final point of their home season.

I had sophomore Kate Trump with 14 kills, 4 ace serves.  Tutak with 10 kills.  Junior Ellie Cohen with 8 kills.  Sophomore Lindsay Hanson with 8 kills.

Goodhue was led offensively by sophomore 5'9 Tori Miller with 13 kills.

BA ends their season Friday night at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.

Cardinals Head Coach Chris Bothun told me the team did have an "Exceptional year.  It was a shame they didn't get to have a normal season."  Bothun said the leadership provided by Radatz and Tutak during this abnormal year, to say the least, was a driving force for the success of the team.


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