SWCHS

Southwest Christian started the volleyball season ranked No. 1 in Class AA. They are three wins from finishing the season that way, too.

The Stars rolled through the Section 2AA Tournament, never dropping a set, capping the program's first trip to the state tournament since 2013 with a 3-0 win over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Nov. 6 at St. Peter High School.

The Stars, from the opening point, were the aggressor, rarely allowing the Buccaneers to put together more than one or two points at a time.

Southwest Christian's relentless hitting attack, which rivals top-class front rows at times, put the pressure on the opposition, swinging with purpose, swinging with vigor.

Southwest Christian has lost just two sets in 13 matches since the beginning of October. Those coming in a tournament loss to Rogers, a Class AAAA team playing for a section title on Saturday.

The other 12 matches have all come in three-set sweeps.

Keeping that focus and drive moving forward, with things going as well as they are, is something coach Jessy Tow-Arnett stresses to her team.

Stars senior Estelle Haugen, one of five Ms. Baden Volleyball finalists, is the player that captures the headlines with her all-around play. But what makes Southwest Christian standout, especially in Class AA, is their depth.

Senior Callie Coughlin on the outside, junior middles Annika Veurink and Mehlayna Straub, and right-side senior Paige Lemkuil give senior setter Ella McIntosh options.

Sisters Jayna and Luca Bredenberg, senior and sophomore, respectively, are the leaders of the back row.

Southwest Christian, the No. 1 overall seed, will open with unseeded Mounds Park Academy in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.

The semifinals are on Friday, Nov. 12, while the championship in Class AA is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.

While the Stars are undefeated against Class AA opponents this year, they were tested by three tournaments in the showcase event in September. No. 2 seed Cannon Falls and No. 4 seed Jackson County Center along with unranked Mounds Park Academy each took a game from them.

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