John's Journal
First-Time Nerves … And State Tourney Success11/7/2013
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.


During a timeout, Eagan students chanted: “We love physics!” Assistant coach Steve Elliott teaches, yes, physics.


Sparty, the big dude who represents the Rochester Mayo Spartans, is hard to beat.


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.”


Class 3A
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

Class 2A
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

Class 1A
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.


*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
Congrats to Cannon Falls' Emi Trost, Old Dutch athlete of the week11/6/2013
Emi Trost, a senior at Cannon Falls High School, capped an outstanding high school cross-country career by winning the Class 1A state championship Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Emi, who had finished second at state the previous two years, won with a decisive 10-second margin of victory. It was her fifth appearance at the state cross-country meet.

In addition to her success in cross-country, Emi also was a state champion in the 800-meter run at last spring’s state track meet and runner-up in the 1,600 meters.

Emi has a 3.97 grade-point average and has been named academic all-state in track and cross-country. She has been involved in 4H for 10 years and has held leadership positions such as treasurer, Cloverbud leader and vice president. She also is very active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where she currently is a Youth Leader, and she works as a lifeguard and swimming instructor at the Cannon Falls pool.

Congratulations to Emi Trost for being this week's Old Dutch High School Athlete of the week!
Gearing Up For State Football Quarterfinals11/6/2013
The state football playoffs have arrived. In all seven classes, from nine-man to 6A, quarterfinal games will be played Thursday, Friday and Saturday. See the schedule and more by clicking here.

State Volleyball: Changing Of The Championship Guard 11/5/2013
This week’s state volleyball tournament will have a bit of a new look, especially in the category of returning state champions. Two-time defending champ Marshall in Class 2A is the only team carrying that banner this week, with longtime tournament regulars Bethlehem Academy (1A) and Lakeville North (3A) losing in section finals.

The tournament begins Thursday with quarterfinal games at Xcel Energy Center, semifinals will be held Friday and championship matches will be played Saturday. The tournament will be webcast by

Bethlehem Academy lost to Fillmore Central in the Section 1 championship match. That result not only interrupted Bethlehem Academy’s lengthy streak of state berths, but it also assured Fillmore Central of its first trip to state in any girls sport. Fillmore Central is the No. 1 seed in Class 1A.

Bethehem Academy was the state champion the last two years and also claimed titles in 2009, 2007, 2005 and 2003, along with runner-up finishes in 2008, 2006, 2004 and 2002. The Cardinals had been to every state volleyball tournament except one since 2002. They missed state in 2010, when Wabasha-Kellogg represented Section 1 and won the state title.

In 3A, defending state champ Lakeville North lost to Eagan in the Section 3 final. North has played in state championship matches the last three years, winning titles in 2010 and last year. The Panthers also played at state 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 (all as Lakeville High), 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Eagan’s return ends a seven-year state tourney hiatus for the Wildcats, who won state championships in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003.

Marshall is at state for the 13th year in a row, and the Tigers won state titles in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012. This is Marshall’s 25th trip to state, which is a state record.

Here are some other tournament tidbits…

--Delano (3A) coach Rebecca Rue is the daughter of Ada-Borup (1A) coach Ruth Hayden. This is the third time both have had teams at state.

--In 2A, Fergus Falls, Hill-Murray and Dassel-Cokato are all at state for the first time.

--No teams in the tournament have unbeaten records. Osseo (3A) has the fewest losses with a record of 28-1. Teams with two losses are Eagan (3A, 27-2), Grand Rapids (3A, 29-2) and Fillmore Central (1A, 33-2).

--On another topic, the MSHSL Facebook page reached a new milestone this week. We now have more than 13,000 “Likes.” Wow!

--Diet Coke Count: 11 for the fall state tournaments.


*Schools/teams John has visited:131
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,698
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
The search is on for the next Old Dutch Athlete of the Week!11/4/2013
After another great week of action, nominations are open for this prestigious statewide award. See all the details by clicking here.