BY DAVE PEDERSEN
The Twin Cities Marathon is not until Sunday, but Delano volleyball players know what runners will go through after playing eight matches and 21 games in one week.
The Tigers almost had a perfect run when winning seven of the eight matches before losing 2-1 to the host team at Saturday’s Chanhassen Tournament.
Delano had won 15 straight games on the wild week before being edged 34-32, in a marathon game itself, to Minnetonka in the tourney semifinals. Delano rebounded to win 26-24 and 15-13 to reach the tourney finals for the second time this season. Osseo topped Delano in the finals of the Farmington Invitational Sept. 14.
The Tigers defeated Chanhassen 25-21 in the first game before losing in overtime 27-25 and then 15-8. Delano had shutout all the opponents last week until the battle with Minnetonka.
Senior hitter Shelby Seurer led the Tigers in kills in every match last week when facing Chanhassen (13), Minnetonka (15), Tartan (9), Belle Plaine (8), Holy Family (12), Glencoe-Silver Lake (14), St. Michael-Albertville (18) and Litchfield (15).
Delano improved to 15-3 overall, 5-0 in the Wright County Conference.
“Passing has been the main key to our success,” says coach Rebecca Rue. “Consistent passing has allowed us to use a multitude of offensive weapons. Elle Heinonen has led our team in the passing category with her sound court sense and ability to read the ball so well.”
Seurer leads the balanced offensive attack as a returning All-State player. She has 221 kills, followed by junior Alex Wittinger (182), junior Bria Barfnecht (122) and ninth-grader Tori Hanson (121), who also helps with a large portion of the passing.
“Kristin Kreklow has done an excellent job of mixing up our offense,” adds Rue about her junior setter who has 548 set assists. “As the season progresses, we are trying to up our tempo, especially on free balls.”
Rue says ninth-grader Erin Norling is working hard on the right side, setting a solid block. Junior Kalley Koch has done a “great job” of coming in the back row for Norling. She has also been a force on the serving end. Junior Brooke Lemke provides some back row depth.
Delano plays at Mound-Westonka Thursday, Oct. 3 before returning home to face second place Dassel-Cokato Oct. 8 and Orono Oct. 10.