It was a raucous playoff atmosphere at the CIHS gym Oct. 25, and the Cambridge-Isanti volleyball fed off that energy to sweep St. Francis 25-18, 25-21, 25-17.
“It was really great to take this match in three games,” said setter Sydney Larkin. “We’ve been working really hard in practice with a full week off. We came into the gym everyday focussed that we were going to do this and to do this quickly because we’re really focussed on our main goal which is to make it, ultimately, to the State tournament. We’ve worked a lot on transitioning and everything the hitters can do to make themselves available. And I also want to thank the passers, too, because without great passing, we can’t run any kind of offense, so it was just a great team win.”
Claire Sheehan’s hard hits were a difference in a tight Game 2 when the Jackets stretched a 20-19 lead into a win, with Sheehan also serving an ace on game point. Korbyn Felde, Sheehan and Chloey Sheehan came through with more big kills in Game 3. Blocks by Greta Holt and Mackenzie Torgerson helped extend the lead to 21-15. Claire and Larkin snuck in deft tips for points 23 and 24, then Sheehan ripped her 22nd kill for match point.
“I expect a lot out of basically a young team, and the kids are trying to balance everything with the excitement and the energy. And I think the girls are doing a really nice job with all of that,” said Coach Vicki Courts whose Bluejackets earned her career win No. 100 against the Saints.
The top-seed Bluejackets will host No. 4 Forest Lake in the Oct. 30 semifinals (7 p.m.), with No. 3 North Branch at No. 2 Grand Rapids in the other semis. The 7AAA championship will be Nov. 2 at Elk River (7 p.m.).
Stats against St. Francis: Cla. Sheehan– 22 kills, 12 digs, 2 aces; Larkin– 25 assists, 8 digs; Felde– 7 kills, 18 digs, 17/17 serving; Chlo. Sheehan– 2 kills, 2 digs; Glotzbach– 2 kills, 11 digs; Torgerson– 1 kill, 4 digs; Sjodin– 11 digs; Wander– 3 digs.