Volleyball team comes from behind to earn state bid


A goal for Maple Lake has been to return to state, and winning the semi-final game on Oct. 29 got them one step closer to achieving it. On their home court, the Irish played the St. Anthony Village Huskies.
A prepared Irish team started the game strong but the win in game one was not easy. The teams both had their strengths but Maple Lake found the weakness of the St. Anthony Village team. When the Irish served tough, the Huskies struggled to pass it and often left them out of formation. Being out of formation made it difficult for St. Anthony Village to make aggressive plays which made it easy for the Irish to make the plays needed to score. Taking advantage off these situations Maple Lake was able to score even with lots of pressure and won 30-28.
In game two, the Huskies improved their passing game, which allowed them to get the ball to their main players. When these players got the ball, they made tough plays that the Irish had to work hard to defend. Both teams put in great effort and made plays that led to runs by both teams but the Huskies made more, leading to a 25-23 win for the visitors.
Game three was also close. Though the Irish won  25-22, there was still room for much improvement. Knowing this, the Irish stepped up their level off play, with aggressive serves and strong plays at the net. 
"They dug well against our attacks but when it came to broken plays we definitely had the advantage," said junior Emily Webb. 
These broken plays happened more as the Irish serves became more powerful and allowed the Irish to win 26-25.
Maple Lake won this match in four games, which advanced them to the section final game against the DeLaSalle Islanders at St. Michael High School on Oct. 31.
Against DeLaSalle the Irish started strong. The team came out with lots of intensity and showed all of their skills in game one, winning 25-15. The team was excited for their win but, in game two, they struggled to keep that excitement alive.
Due to the fact that the section final football game was the same night, the Irish lacked fans in the stands. Though they had some, it wasn't as many as they were used to. This toned down the excitement in the gymnasium and made it difficult for Maple Lake to get excited. All their skills were present but the intensity needed to win the game was missing. This resulted in a 25-23 Irish loss.
Maple Lake, still playing hard in game three, continued to lack intensity. Being tough competitors, they stayed aggressive and made the Islanders work to score. In tough situations the Irish usually rely on their consistent serves to get them through it. However, when they were down they had trouble making the important serves over. This gave DeLaSalle the momentum and helped them win 25-19.
"When we got excited and started to motivate each other to do well, we gained back the intensity needed to come back," said junior Jenni Pomije. 
Once the Irish gained back intensity they were able to improve their serving and make aggressive plays. With improved serving, Maple Lake was able to win a close game four 26 – 24, gaining back momentum.
More information and stats appear in this week's Messenger.