Thursday's prep volleyball playoff match: Cook County vs. Mayer Lutheran
COOK COUNTY (22-5) VS. MAYER LUTHERAN (29-2)
What: Class A state tournament quarterfinal
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Outlook: Once again, Cook County faces a stiff test right out of the gate. The unseeded Vikings open against the defending champion Crusaders, who haven't lost to a Class A team all season. In fact, No. 1 Mayer Lutheran has only dropped one game to a small-school foe, Wabasha-Kellogg on Sept. 22. The Vikings' initial reaction upon seeing the bracket was, "Of course, this is just our luck," said outside hitter Meredith Sutton (463 kills, 5.6 per game). They also drew the top seed (Bethlehem Academy) in 2015 and No. 3 Caledonia a year ago. Still, outgoing coach Pam Taylor said of the Crusaders, "Somebody has to play them — might as well be us." Minnesota Duluth-bound Sutton has gone over 1,000 career kills, while setter Raina Ryden (368 set assists, 4.5) has surpassed 1,000 career digs. Cook County has won 17 matches in a row. ... The Crusaders return 11 players from a club that won Class A in 2016 in the program's 12th state tournament. Madison Hucky (561 assists, 7.2) spreads the ball around to a talented group of hitters, including Sophia Heuer (234 kills, 2.8) and Madi Beck (207, 2.5) on the outside. Sophomore middles Olivia Tjernagel (197, 2.3) and Claudia Stahlke (101, 1.4) both are 6 feet. Today's winner meets either Wadena-Deer Creek or Ada-Borup/Norman County West in Friday's semifinals.
Tickets: Single session — $14 adults, $9 students; daily — $22 adults, $15 students
Webcast: video.grandstadium.tv ($10.95 per day, $23.97 for tournament)