Tigers get eliminated

By Jake Calhoun

Journal Sports Writer

MANKATO – Springfield was cruising in the first set of the Section 2A, South Subsection finals and even got to set point at 24-20 after a kill by senior Vishe’ Rabb.

But after allowing top-seeded Waterville-Elysian-Morristown to claw its way back to taking set point itself, a controversial call that went against Springfield drained its momentum.

Despite its valiant effort to come back, No. 3-seeded Springfield fell 28-26, 25-20, 25-21 in the South Subsection finals on Thursday at Mankato East High School.

The controversial call that went against the Tigers (22-9) awarded the Buccaneers a point when Rabb hit into a block and got the ball over the net before it slid down the blocker, who tried to pop the ball back up to keep it afloat. However, the blocker popped it up on the Tigers’ side and Springfield coach Michelle Adrian said that because it happened so fast, the officials thought it was a block and awarded the Buccaneers the point.

“I’m pretty understanding when referees make calls, but that was a very, very poor call,” Rabb said. “We tried to turn it back into our game and keep it going.”

The Buccaneers (30-4), who are ranked No. 6 in Class A, were spurred on by senior outside Kate Masberg, who tallied 20 total kills including seven in the second set and eight in the third.

Springfield fought in the second set and came to within one at 18-17 after a kill from Alyssa Streich. However, WEM closed on a 7-3 run to take the 2-0 lead.

After trailing by as much as five in Set 3, Springfield went on a 7-2 run to tie the match at 21-21. However, a service error by Springfield led to three-straight service aces from MaeLea Harmon to end the match.

“They still fought, they wanted it,” Adrian said. “They played with heart. They kept trying, they kept believing and that’s all you can ask.”

Rabb had 11 kills in her final high school volleyball match, while fellow senior Streich had nine kills and junior Kenna Wahl had seven kills. Senior Shylyn Lothert also had five kills

This was the final match for Rabb, Streich, Lothert, Callie Wersal, McKensie Schwanke, Kate Quesenberry, Jena Roiger, Amber Fenger, Sydney Krueger, Jessie Moe and Nicole Thom – all of whom helped make Springfield a contender again.

“Their leadership was phenomenal,” Adrian said. “I feel like I could teach them things in practice and in the huddle, and they would do it on the court; they would manage it, they would lead each other.

“They owned it, they owned this season. This was really their team. They grew so much through it too.”