Medford Volleyball Wins After Amazing Kenyon-Wanamingo Comeback
The Medford Tigers repeated as West Subsection 1A Champions Thursday following a 5 set thrilling win over top seed Kenyon-Wanamingo. The final Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association poll had Medford rated #7 and Kenyon-Wanamingo #8. The subsection coaches seeded the Knights #1 and Tigers #2.
Medford dominated the first two sets 25-17, 25-19 and had a 24-18 lead in the third set before K-W senior Ally Peterson went on a serving tear and also got into a hitting zone that was in the stratosphere. Peterson served out the final 8 points and had an ace serve and five kills down the stretch as the Knights won 26-24.
Kenyon-Wanamingo did ride that momentum into the 4th set and won 25-17. The Knights led most of the fifth set but Medford got two monster blocks in the fifth set by 5'11 sophomore Isabel DeLeon and 6'0 junior Kinsey Cronin to help in their 17-15 win.
Kronin was very efficient for Medford and was not on the floor when the Knights made their magical run in the third set. She had assisted in the Tigers excellent blocking against the top seed. My unofficial statistics had Kronin with 22 kills and six blocks on the night.
Peterson finished her career at Kenyon-Wanamingo with a 25 kill effort according to my tally. 9 of those kills were in the pivotal third set. 7 in the fifth set. The Knights other top hitter Julianna Boyum had 16 kills but none in the fifth set. 6'1 junior Hailey Lerfald collected 10 kills unofficialy for K-W.
Errors are always huge in volleyball because the other team scores directly off your mistake. It's like a pick six or a scoop fumble recovery and score in football. But in the fifth set teams must be very efficient. The winning team needs to score only 15 points and win by 2.
I had the Knights with 6 errors in the final set and Medford with 4 errors.
In addition to Kronin's efficient night at the net Tigers senior 5'9 Emma Kniefel had 14 kills on my notepad and just two hitting errors. Senior 5'10 Alyvia Johnson also had 14 kills and led the offensive attack in the fifth set with 3 put downs for points.
Medford won the first set with a lot of off speed tips the Knights just couldn't pick up. The Tigers were also more diversified on offense. Kronin had 5 kills, Johnson 5 kills and Emma Kniefel 4 kills.
In the second set Medford had 3 ace serves, 8 aces after three sets, but none after that.
Enter 5'6 freshman Josi Quam for Kenyon-Wanamingo in the third set and the passing improved as she provided some much needed energy off the bench.
I believe rally scoring has been part of the game since 2003 and I do not recall seeing a team do what the Knights did in the third set at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center on this Halloween night. For Medford fans I'm sure it was spooky. Medford had six match points and Kenyon-Wanamingo fought back for the improbable win.
I remember saying on the broadcast we'll see if Ally Peterson can serve 8 straight points for the win and she did.
In the fifth set it was tied at 10 points each, 12, 13 and 15 before Medford got the last two points to repeat as SubSection champions.
The Tigers will have a rematch of last year's Section title when they face Mabel-Canton on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the Mayo Civic Center. The Cougars were rated #6 in the final MVCA Class A poll.
Mabel-Canton dropped their first set against Caledonia 25-19 before scoring 25-23, 25-16 and 26-24 wins to repeat as the East SubSection Champions.
Saturday's match will be broadcast on KAT KOUNTRY 105, 104.9 FM and worldwide on the FREE KAT KOUNTRY 105 app with Randy Sobrack on the call.