9 a.m. — Heritage Christian vs. Mound-Westonka
It'll be a new look at Heritage Christian this fall, as the program has a new coach (Lisa Halvorsen) and nearly new roster after graduating seven key seniors. This will be a first look at the Eagles, who do have three returning letter winners in senior Megan Smith, sophomore Jordyn Allen, and freshman Ainsley Halvorsen.
Mound-Westonka also graduated much of its starting lineup, but does have a strong junior class that is anchored by setter Isabel Speakman and middle Jennifer Schaible. The White Hawks could improve on last year's 10-19 record and a win Saturday would be a great start.
Our pick: Mound-Westonka in five.
11 a.m. — Kenyon-Wanamingo vs. Cambridge-Isanti
Speaking of graduation losses, that theme continues in the second match on Court 3. Kenyon-Wanamingo took third place in the Class AA state tourney last year, but graduated four all-conference starters, two of whom (MH Megan Flom and OH Mara Quam) were also All-State picks. While many expect the Knights to be down, don't count them out as setter Maddie McCauley and hitters Ally Peterson and Corynne Dahl are good players.
Cambridge-Isanti also graduated an All-State (All-American) caliber star in OH Claire Sheehan. The Bluejackets also welcome in a new coach in Brittany Adolphson, so it's a new era in the program. Freshman setter Paige Sheehan is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the real deal and has a pair of 120-plus kill hitters returning in Bridget Witzmann and Emily Higley.
Our pick: Kenyon-Wanamingo in five.
1 p.m. — Bemidji vs. Minneapolis Washburn
Bemidji took a step back from state tournament contention in a difficult season last year, but coach Teresa Colligan is optimistic of a return to prominence. Daughter Addie Colligan is a veteran setter and has three top hitting options in Alexis Wade, Anna Falldorf, and MaKenna Quinn, all seniors. Their experience will be key.
Minneapolis Washburn coach Mark Nelson also has high hopes, as his program graduated just two seniors from a 22-win team. Senior OHs Lizzy Stark and Frances Egan will be load for any team to handle and combined for 578 kills last fall. The Millers also have some good talent in the middle, including senior Rachel Irmiger.
Our pick: Bemidji in four.
3 p.m. — St. Louis Park vs. Tartan
St. Louis Park must replace its starting setter, but the new setter will have plenty of hitting options to choose from. Senior Ella Trotter racked up 221 kills last year and combines with senior Kim Lindgren and sophomore Makaila Winward for a solid trio. Libero Maddy McIntosh will also play a key role.
Tartan enters its second season under coach Alyssa Engel with an enthusiastic outlook. The Titans have good reason, as there are top players at key positions such as libero (senior Marisa Gomez-John), setter (Jessie Bradshaw), and hitter (sophomore Alexandra Lyle).
Our pick: St. Louis Park in five.
5 p.m. — Minneota vs. Underwood
Minneota has been a regular at the state tournament since making its first appearance in 2001 and certainly could return this year. The Vikings' new coach Hayley Fruin must rely on a solid junior class that is anchored by setter Morgan Kockelman, OH Lizzy Gillingham, and MH Lydia Sussner, who combined for 567 kills and more than 200 digs last fall.
Underwood is also one of Minnesota's top small school powers and boasts of one of the best players in all of Class A in All-State hitter Brenna Tinjum. Last year, Tinjum pounded out 411 kills and should be even better. Teams can't just focus their defense on her either, though, not with junior Emma Fitzgibbons (284 kills) and senior Sydney Hovland (103 kills) lurking.
Our pick: Underwood in four.
7 p.m. — Chanhassen vs. Orono
Chanhassen coach Teryn Glenn admits that her program might be in a rebuilding year after graduating eight players from a 10-win team. Senior Sidney Brastad is one of the few returning veterans and will be relied upon to lead the young team. There is talent in the underclassmen, which should come together as the season progresses.
Orono also lost a big senior class that led the team to 13 wins a year ago, leaving the mantle of leadership to players such as senior Kayla DiMartini and Tricia Johnson, who shared the program's Most Improved Player award last season.
Our pick: Chanhassen in three.
|School Name||Conference||Sect||Overall Record||Coach|
|Cambridge-Isanti||Mississippi 8||7AAA||16-14||Brittany Adolphson|
|Chanhassen||Metro West||2AAA||10-15||Teryn Glenn|
|Heritage Christian||MCAA||4A||26-12||Lisa Halvorsen|
|Kenyon-Wanamingo||Hiawatha Valley||2AA||34-2||Jen Nerison|
|Minneapolis Washburn||Mpls City||6AAA||22-9||Mark Nelson|
|Mound-Westonka||Wright County West||5AA||10-19||Katie Jo O'Gara|
|Orono||Wright County East||5AAA||13-16||Ryan Stuntz|
|St. Louis Park||Metro West||6AAA||13-15||Whitney Meierotto-Simon|
|Tartan||Metro East||4AAA||9-17||Alyssa Engel|
|Underwood||Little 8||6A||30-5||Diane Ross|
|Heritage Christian||Ainsley Halvorsen||OH/DS||5'5||9|
|Heritage Christian||Jordyn Allen||MB/RH/S||6'1||10|
|Heritage Christian||Megan Smith||OH||5'7||12|
|Minneapolis Washburn||Audrey Hepenstal||MH||5'10||10|
|Minneapolis Washburn||Frances Egan||OH||5'8||12|
|Minneapolis Washburn||Julia Morse||MH||6'0||12|
|Minneapolis Washburn||Lizzy Stark||OH||5'9||12|
|Minneapolis Washburn||Rachel Irmiger||MB||5'11||12|
|St. Louis Park||Ella Trotter||OH||5'10||12|
|St. Louis Park||Kim Lindgren||OH||5'10||12|
|St. Louis Park||Maddy McIntosh||LI||5'6||11|
|St. Louis Park||Makaila Winward||OH||5'7||10|
|Underwood||Brenna Tinjum||OH||5'10||12||Class A All-State HM|
Click on the links below to visit our social media sites, from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube to Instagram and more.