Fillmore Central came into the Class 1A state volleyball tournament riding high, with a record of 33-2, coming off the championship of always-strong Section 1 and receiving the No. 1 seed at state.
That didn’t mean the Falcons -- and their coach -- weren’t nervous when they met Ada-Borup in Thursday’s quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center. Ada-Borup won the first game 25-19 before the Falcons rallied to win the next three games 25-16, 25-14, 25-2. Fillmore Central will meet Win-E-Mac in Friday’s semifinals at 1 p.m.
“We got off to a slow start, we were nervous,” said coach Denise Case, who admitted she felt some nerves, too. “Yes, I was nervous a little bit. I’m still nervous, I think.”
First-time teams at state volleyball often have issues in becoming accustomed to the Xcel Energy Center’s sky-high black ceiling and wide-open spaces. The Falcons practiced Thursday morning in the gym at Concordia University in St. Paul, but there’s really no way to replicate the Xcel Center’s vastness.
Fillmore Central’s only two losses this season were against Class 3A Rosemount. The Falcons were 26-6 last season and 24-6-1 two years ago, and everyone was expecting big things this season … and beyond. The Falcons have only two seniors on the roster, including Case’s daughter Taylor, who had 17 kills and 25 digs against Ada-Borup.
There’s a third member of the family on the bench; Denise’s daughter Ashley, 27, is an assistant coach.
“We pretty much talk a lot of volleyball at home,” Denise said.
Thursday was a great day for music at the volleyball tournament. The Eagan band has a fantastic sound, the Roseville band played a great rendition of Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” and the world-famous Ada-Borup band brought electricity in more way than one. Mix in the bands from Fergus Falls, Mora, Marshall, etc., and it was fantastic.
Fillmore Central, which is playing at a girls state tournament for the first time in any sport, not only brought enthusiastic fans but a fabulous band. Think about this: Fillmore Central has a high school enrollment of 131, and 96 of those students are in the band program. Thursday’s band was a bit smaller, however, because all but one of the Falcons volleyball players also are musicians. Oh, and the school is located in the town of Harmony. Perfect.
CHANT OF THE DAY
During a timeout, Eagan students chanted: “We love physics!” Assistant coach Steve Elliott teaches, yes, physics.
MASCOT OF THE DAY
Sparty, the big dude who represents the Rochester Mayo Spartans, is hard to beat.
TWEET OF THE DAY
After Eagan swept Moorhead 3-0 in Class 3A beind 19 kills by the 6-foot-1Taylr McNeil, Fargo-Moorhead Forum scribe Chris Murphy issued this Tweet:
“That'll do it. Top-seeded Eagan moves on to the semifinals with a 25-13, 25-16, 25-14 sweep of Moorhead.Taylr McNeil is unfair.”
THURSDAY’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Eagan beat Moorhead 25-13, 25-16, 25-14
Eden Prairie beat 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 26-24
Osseo beat Rochester Mayo 27-25, 25-19, 25-18
Delano beat Grand Rapids 25-18, 25-14, 25-14
Marshall beat Mora 25-9, 25-7, 25-18
Fergus Falls beat Belle Plaine 26-28, 25-19, 25-14, 19-25, 15-9
Kasson-Mantorville beat Maple Lake 25-20, 25-17, 25-21
Hill-Murray beat Dassel-Cokato 25-23, 26-24, 21-25, 25-22
Fillmore Central beat Ada-Borup 19-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-21
Win-E-Mac beat Nevis 25-21, 25-20, 25-20
Minneota beat Carlton 25-21, 25-8, 25-18
Southwest Christian beat Martin County West 25-18, 25-16, 25-9
--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 4 for the state volleyball tournament, 15 for the fall state tournaments.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited:155
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,740
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn