Forty-two kills in three sets usually means a victory in high school volleyball. For fourth-ranked Chaska, those offensive numbers came in a 3-0 loss in the Section 2AAAA championship to third-ranked Eden Prairie on Oct. 4.
So, how did the Eagles win despite being outhit?
Eden Prairie had eight aces to three for the Hawks at the service line. Add in 10 serving errors, six alone in game one, and those free points added up for the Eagles.
Eden Prairie was also stingy at big points in the match, never allowing the Hawks to score more than one or two points in a row.
Chaska held leads of 22-19 and 20-16 in sets one and three, but were unable to close out either, losing 26-24 and 25-23. The middle set saw a 16-14 Chaska advantage evaporate quickly with six straight Eagle points, an 11-3 run to win 25-19.
How close was the match?
In the first two sets alone, the two teams traded leads 11 times, and were tied 19 times.
The Hawks were led offensively by senior captain Mallory Heyer with 15 kills with junior captains Ella Christ and Avery Rosenberg finishing with 11 and nine kills, respectively. Senior Sam Schmidt and junior MaKina Larson added six and two offensive points as well.
Rosenberg was credited with five blocks with Kiki Thompson added two, while Christ had two of the Hawks' three aces, both in set one.
Lucy Dardis (18), Christ (12) and Heyer (11) were dig leaders.
Like Chaska, Eden Prairie hit from all spots on the court. Lillian Ekness and Paige O'Connell totaled 17 kills between them, while middle hitter Kendall Minta led the Eagles with 13 kills.
Piper Lange, Cameron Berger and Evelyn Skattum all played a role as well on the front line with libero Katelyn Jensen serving up two aces.
Chaska finished the 2021 season with a 22-8 record.
It is the first trip to the state tournament for Eden Prairie since 2014.
With Eagan's 3-2 loss to East Ridge, Eden Prairie should receive the No. 2 seed behind unbeaten and defending champion Wayzata.