Thunderhawks defeated in state volleyball semifinals
Grand Rapids will play Saturday in the third-place match against Kasson-Mantorville or Benilde-St. Margaret's.
ST. PAUL — Grand Rapids' second consecutive Class AAA semifinal tilt with defending champions Marshall went better than last time but not well enough.
The Thunderhawks were sent to Saturday's third-place match in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-19) Tigers sweep at Xcel Energy Center on Friday morning.
The 2021 semifinal meeting for the teams was particularly lopsided, 25-9, 25-11, 25-12; and though Rapids was more competitive on Friday, the Tigers had 11 more kills and 10 fewer hitting errors and never trailed in any set.
In the first set, Rapids fell behind 7-2 but continued pushing and forced Marshall into a timeout at 16-14 when Braya LaPlant notched a kill off the Marshall block. They got within 18-17 only for Randi Wendorff of Marshall to notch kills on five consecutive points.
In the second set, the early deficit was 6-1 and the closest rally was to 18-16 on a Colby LaPlant service ace.
Marshall started set three on a 6-0 run with four Rapids attack errors and two Marshall aces. Again the Thunderhawks rallied most of, but not all the way, back, getting to within two points twice.
Wendorff had 11 kills and Leah Jones 10 for the Tigers, who are going for an unprecedented eighth state championship on Saturday vs. Kasson-Mantorville or Benilde-St. Margaret's.
For Grand Rapids, Kate Jamtgaard and Kyra Giffen co-led the offense with six kills. Braya LaPlant had 21 assists. On the defensive end, Lindsey Racine accumulated 22 digs, while Giffen and Josie Hanttula added 12 and 10, respectively.
The Thunderhawks will play for third place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday vs. the loser of the second semifinal.