KoMets advance for Stewartville rematch
Over the course of the season, Kasson-Mantorville volleyball coach Adam VanOort has believed that he’s overseen a special team. With loads of talent on the roster and a youthful energy, he’s seen a team that has played so well that he believes that a section championship isn’t out of reach.
“Every team that I have coached has had the potential to win the section,” VanOort admitted. “This specific team has worked really hard in practice all year long and has made improvements over the season. As a result, they have developed the skills needed to compete well with every team in our section. If they stay mentally tough and play loose, I think that we have a good chance with anyone in Section 1AA.”
The KoMets came one step closer to their goal of a section championship this week as they opened the Section 1AA tournament with victories over Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Byron to advance to the subsection championship against Stewartville on Thursday night.
During their two victories, the KoMets were able to display stretches of dominance including one that lasted the entire match against the Cougars on October 25. With wins of 25-13, 25-17 and 25-10, K-M was able to make short work of the seventh seed while getting a tremendous offensive performance from Peyton Suess (18 kills, seven digs, four blocks) and defensive effort from Bailey Berge (nine digs).
As with any playoff run, things only got harder when the KoMets faced Byron in the 1AA West Semifinal match on Saturday afternoon in Rochester. Things didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts for K-M as they couldn’t find a way to get past Byron’s Akoya Lee at the net and found themselves out of sync. The result was a 25-18 win for the Bears and an early one-set hole.
“We missed too many serves in the first set to beat anyone, much less a tough Byron squad,” VanOort observed. “After we cleaned up that part of our game, things went much better for us.”
The KoMets looked like a different team after the first set as they put their foot on the gas while playing crisp, clean volleyball en route to taking the second set by a score of 25-16. K-M would really start to pull away in the third set as they opened with a 9-0 run followed by a 6-1 run after the Bears put four points on the board to dominate the third set 25-12.
With the Bears on the ropes, the KoMets withstood an early 6-1 run before tying things up at 11 and pulling away with a 6-2 surge of their own to claim the match with a 25-20 victory.
While Suess trumped her Z-M performance with 23 kills and 22 digs, other players stepped up such as Ellie Schultz, who finished with 16 digs and Madie Bigelow, who did a little bit of everything with five kills, four blocks and six digs in the victory.
Up next for the KoMets will be the Stewartville Tigers, who have been standing in the way of a section championship for