ST. PAUL – The bright lights of the Xcel Energy Center weren’t too much for the Delano volleyball team. Making their first state tournament appearance since 2013, the Tigers looked right at home as they opened their state tournament run with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-17) sweep of Mahtomedi in the Class AAA quarterfinals Wednesday night.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Delano coach Becca Rue said. “I feel like we did what has been working for us all season which is a balanced attack. We had a solid block and our defense was tough. It’s been 10 years since Delano has been here and they came out and kept their composure and played really well.”
After a back-and-forth start to things to open the match, Delano took control the rest of the way. They closed the opening set on a 19-4 run including 11-straight points served up by sophomore Kaelyn Wittwer who finished with four aces in the set as Delano grabbed a 1-0 lead. Cassie Wegman was also big down the stretch for the Tigers leading the way with five kills in the first set alone.
Delano kept things rolling in the second and third sets, never letting up as they completed the sweep with a 25-15 win in set two and a 25-17 win in set three.
Coming off a season-high in kills in the section title game, Wegman stayed hot for the Tigers leading the way with a match-high 10 kills as she’s been a big piece of the success for Delano.
“She’s just attacking,” Rue said about Wegman. “Not only that, but tonight she did a really good job of seeing the whole court and picking apart what was open. She rocked it tonight.”
“I’ve just come into it being confident and trying to forget about everything else around me,” Wegman added. “I just have a positive mindset and try to have fun.”
As a team, Delano recorded 14 aces with seven of them coming from Wittwer. Taylor Tool finished with seven kills while Sydney Pink, Lucy Fobbe, and Kayla Heinonen each finished with six kills apiece.
“Our serving was big,” Rue said. “We got on those momentum swings by serving tough. We also really executed when we did get back into our defense.”
With the win, Delano advances to the Class AAA state semifinals Friday against No. 3 Byron at 11 a.m. at the Xcel Energy Center. The Bears won 3-0 against unseeded Monticello in their quarterfinal matchup.
CLASS AAA QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Marshall 3, DeLaSalle 0
Delano 3, Mahtomedi 0
Byron 3, Monticello 0
Detroit Lakes 3, Grand Rapids 0
CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS – Friday. Nov. 10
No. 1 Marshall vs. No. 4 Detroit Lakes, 9 a.m.
No. 2 Delano vs. No. 3 Byron, 11 a.m.