The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers swept the Faribault Bethlehem Academy Cardinals in impressive fashion tonight to win the Gopher Conference Volleyball Championship.  The Buccaneers put an exclamation point on a fantastic regular season finishing 7-0 in the Gopher and 28-2 overall.

That it was accomplished on the Van Orsow Auditorium floor may have even been more sweet for Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.  From 1998 until last season Bethlehem Academy dominated the Gopher Conference.  They never lost a conference match in those 20 years.

It was senior night for the Cardinals and the tone was set for the match from the outset.  WEM senior Delaney Donahue's first serve was received by Bethlehem Academy but there was no communication on the play resulting in an ace serve.

The Buccaneers cruised to a 25-8 win in the first set with the Cardinals committing 9 errors.  The second set was 25-10 with 11 BA mistakes.  The third set was competitive with a WEM 25-20 victory.  The Cardinals had 9 errors in that set and the Buccaneers 12 third set mistakes by my count.

WEM was super efficient in the first two sets with one service error in the first and three total errors in the second set.  Buccaneers Head Coach Crystal Lamont told KDHL on the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Girls Coaches Show last Saturday courtesy of Elysian Bank the goal has been to cut down on their mistakes each match.

Bethlehem Academy's three seniors honored between the Junior Varsity and Varsity matches were Haley Lang, Grace Ashley and Lexi Boyd.  They were named our Faribault State Farm Insurance Agents Faribault players of the match courtesy of Jason Krohn and Tony Langerud.

The Malecha's Auto Body Crunch Time Kill of the match was delivered by Boyd in the third set.  A crushing hit that brought the set to a 19-17 score.

Bethlehem Academy was led by Boyd's 6 kills, freshman Kate Trump 5 kills, junior Kennedy Tutak had 4 kills.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown has two seniors on their team Donahue and Trista Hering.  Donahue finished the night with 4 ace serves, 6 kills, 10 digs.  Hering 7 kills and 2 blocks.

Buccaneers juniors Toryn Richards and Kylie Pittman joined Donahue in covering the entire court.  Richards tallied 15 kills while hitting a blistering .344 and added 9 digs.

Pittman had 10 kills and 12 digs.  WEM team hitting percentage for the match was .283.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown will undoubtedly enjoy a bye in the first round of Subsection action Monday before opening their playoffs Thursday at home.

Bethlehem Academy is not as sure about where they will land in the 13 team Section 1A  West Subsection brackets.  If you went by QRF the 9-14 Cardinals would receive the #4 seed and a home match to start the playoffs.  BA Athletic Director Ed Friesen says the section coaches will each seed the teams.

Before Match Captains and Coaches Meeting WEM and BA. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld