Hayfield stays relaxed in close win

Published 4:56 pm Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hayfield's Katie Miner, left, and Hannah Wiltgen embrace after the Vikings swept Kenyon Wanamingo to move on the Subsection 1A West Division finals in Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Saturday. The No. 3 seeded Vikings will take on No. 1 Faribault Bethlehem Academy Thursday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

ROCHESTER — The biggest thing the Vikings had to do to win their postseason contest was stay relaxed.

They did that just fine as No. 3 seeded Hayfield edged out No. 2 seeded Kenyon/Wanamingo (14-13 overall) in three close games by scores of 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 in the Section 1A West Division volleyball semifinals in Mayo Civic Center Saturday.

Email newsletter signup

Games one and two were both tied at 18 before the Vikings made their move and game three saw Hayfield lead just 23-22 before Dani Wagner and Abby Blanchard hammered down kills for the last two points of the day.

“It helps us to relax when games are close like that,” said Hayfield senior Molly Streightiff, who had 12 set assists and nine kills. “We have to remember to have fun, because when we have fun, we’re unstoppable. The most important part of the captain job is to keep everyone up, no matter how we feel.”

Hayfield's Katie Miner tips a ball against the defefense of Kenyon/Wanaminog's Jenna Stevenson (1) and Katie Strand (10) during Hayfield's win over K/W in Rochester Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Hayfield (17-11 overall) closed out the first game when sophomore Rachel Czaplewski served the last four points and Abby Blanchard knocked down the 25th point. Hayfield scored the last seven points of the second game as Hannah Wiltgen served six straight points —including one ace.

While the Vikings weren’t overpowering on offense, they were very consistent.

“Even if you’re not crushing the ball, if you can eliminate mistakes, that’s a huge thing,” Hayfield head coach Deb Harvey said. “Our blocking wasn’t nearly as good as it was on Thursday (in a sweep of Blooming Prairie) and that’s going to have to improve.”

Offensively, the Vikings shared the wealth as five players had at least six kills.

“It was a team effort,” said junior outside hitter Katie Miner, who had 9 kills. “We had good passes, good sets and good hits. It was a lot of pressure, but we worked through it together. Victory is sweet here and it’s a good feeling.”

Czaplweski helped in the distribution as she handed out 18 set assists.

“This was one of Rachel’s best games. She made a lot of good decisions and she got the ball to the right place,” Harvey said.

The Vikings will now take on No. 1 Faribault Bethlehem Academy (23-5 overall) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester for the subsection title. B.A. ended Hayfield’s season last year.

Harvey said her team will have to come out a lot more vocal on Thursday.

“We didn’t play exceptionally well (against K/W), we were so quiet and we’re usually much louder and much more talkative,” she said. “We’ll have to get that going in the next match.”

Hayfield stats: Molly Streightiff, 9 kills, 12 set assists, 8 digs, 1 block, 1 ace serve; Katie Miner, 9 kills, 1 block; Liz Ristau, 7 kills, 1 block; Abby Blanchard, 7 kills, 9 digs; Dani Wagner, 6 kills, 2 blocks; Alyssa Selk, 14 digs, 1 ace; Rachel Czaplweski, 18 set assists, 1 ace; Jaide Ryks, 13 digs; Nicole Jax, 4 digs