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Lifelong Learning

Spuds place fourth at state volleyball tournament

November 16, 2017

After pulling out a 3-2 win over Willmar in the Class 3A, Section 8 championship on Nov. 4 in Alexandria, the Moorhead High School volleyball team did it again to win the quarterfinal match at the state volleyball tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last weekend. Moorhead knocked off the No. 3-seeded Champlin Park Rebels in another knuckle biter. The Spuds took the first set, then dropped the next two sets before rebounding to win the fourth and fifth sets to win the match.

The win sent the Spuds to the semifinals for the first time since 1996, and it was the first quarterfinal win for Coach Char Lien in state tournament action. Senior Lexi Gilbertson and junior Brook Carney led the team in kills with 19 and 17, respectively. Gilbertson also scored four service aces while junior Brooke Walthall added three services aces for the Spuds.

In the Nov. 10 matchup, the Spuds were up against the No. 2-seeded Lakeville North team. The Panthers ended the Cinderella run for the Spuds in a three-set shutout.

“Lakeville North is a solid team and did exactly what they needed to do,” said Lien. They served us very smart, pushed us back and got us out of system a little bit. We got a little flustered with the passing.”

According to Lien they rebounded in the last part of the first set, which gave them a bit more confidence.

“We got some good aces at times and got them out of system a few times, but they have a barrage of hitters,” Lien said. “Defensively, we were able to get in the right spot, but it was the lack of ball control after that. They are still learning, they kept their heads up and kept battling every point, which is exactly what we kept asking them to do.”

In the game against Lakeville North, Gilbertson led the Spuds with 10 kills and Brook Carney added five. Senior setter Kortney Carney had 19 set assists in the game, and the Spuds served six aces. Senior libero Callie Ahlgren had 12 digs and Walthall added seven for the Spuds.

On Saturday, the Spuds ended their season in the third-place match against No. 5-seeded Prior Lake. The Lakers took the match in three sets. Gilbertson led the Spuds with 15 kills and 13 digs. Ahlgren had 19 digs for the Spuds, and junior Jalen Ennen added 10 more. Kortney Carney added 28 assists for the Spuds.

The Spuds ended their season with fourth place at the volleyball state tournament and a season record of 22-11.

Career records for the Spuds

·Kortney Carney #1 in matches played in a career with 128 matches
·Lexi Gilbertson #4 in matches played in a career with 104 matches
·Both Spuds were four-year varsity players.
·Kortney Carney #1 in setting assists in a career with 2541
·Kortney Carney #2 in digs in a career with 1228
·Kortney Carney #7 in service aces in a career with 148
·Kortney Carney #10 in total blocks in a career with 154
·Lexi Gilbertson #3 in kills in a career with 785
·Lexi Gilbertson #5 in digs in a career with 681
Single season records for the Spuds
· Callie Ahlgren #3 in digs for a single season with 451
· Brooke Walthall #6 in serves attempted for a single season with 463
· Lexi Gilbertson #4 in kills for a single season with 385

Photo: Front: Assistant Coach Amy Bjerke, Valerie Hernandez, Natalie Cook, Lexi Gilbertson, Callie Ahlgren, Claire Howell, Ayana Blythe, Megan Haugo and Assistant Coach Amber Gunkel. Back: Assistant Coach Katy Braaten, Alyssa Knain, Sam Zimmerman, Jalen Ennen, Kortney Carney, Team Manager Andie Kassenborg, Mallory Lee, Brook Carney, Brooke Walthall, Coach Char Lien and Assistant Coach Anna Curley.  Photo by Renée Grover

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