Twice this season Southwest Christian won two games over Belle Plaine. Once in a 3-2 loss on Sept. 12, another time Sept. 21 in a 2-0 win in the Class AA Showcase.

"We've yet to win three games," Stars head volleyball coach Greg Sayuk said before the playoffs began.

Like the first meeting Southwest Christian was in control in the Section 2AA North Sub-Section final Oct. 31, winning the first two games.

Like the first meeting, Belle Plaine rallied from the deficit to win, securing a spot in the championship final Saturday, Nov. 2 at Mankato East High School.

Game scores were 16-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-12.

Early on it was Belle Plaine giving up free points, serves into the net, swings out of bounds. Southwest Christian, despite a low swing-to-kill ratio, won the first two games with ease.

Taking a 9-8 lead in game three on back-to-back Sonja Brastad aces, Southwest Christian's momentum turned in a hurry, eight straight Belle Plaine points.

A 17-5 run for the Tigers had them quickly thinking about another five-game win.

Southwest Christian, down 23-18 in game four, got within one point twice at 23-22 and 24-23, but a Leah Lenz swing off the block forced game five for Belle Plaine.

The two teams were tied at five, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12 in the fifth set. Southwest Christian's largest lead since game two at 7-5. Yet it was Belle Plaine who scored the final three points.

Following a Mikayla Coops kill and an ace from Lizzie Hilgers, Lauren Johnson's swing fell to the court at 15-12 for the clinching point.

It was the 21st win in 28 matches for the Tigers, the defending Section 2AA champions and 10th-ranked team in Class AA.

Southwest Christian managed just 49 offensive points on 186 total swings, a hitting percentage of .156. The Stars had a total of 40 errors in hitting, serving and serve receive.

Estelle Haugen (14), Mackenzie Close (13) and Madeleine Lemkuil (13) were kill leaders for the Stars with Felicia Luther finishing with 41 set assists.

Defensive leaders were Marissa Agrimson with 27 digs followed by Lemkuil (19), Jayna Bredenberg (16), Luther (14), and Haugen (11).

Southwest Christian (21-9) was beaten by Belle Plaine in the sub-section final for the second time in four years.

The Tigers play Le Sueur-Henderson, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit as well to beat top seed St. Peter in the South sub-section, in the championship at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The Giants finished sixth of eight teams in the Minnesota River Conference. Belle Plaine shared the league title with Southwest Christian and Mayer Lutheran.

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