It wasn't the hardware Southwest Christian was hoping for, but after suffering an opening round defeat to Mounds Park Academy in the Class AA State Volleyball Tournament, rebounding for two wins was a consolation prize.
The Stars, undefeated against teams in Class AA in the regular season, ranked No. 1 from the start to finish, was knocked out of the championship bracket in the quarterfinals.
Mounds Park Academy, a team Southwest Christian beat 2-1 in the Class AA Showcase in September, won in five games, 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-11.
With Southwest Christian out of championship contention, third-seeded Sauk Centre captured its first state title, a 3-1 win over No. 4 seed Jackson County Central. Sauk Centre was 32-1 overall.
Southwest Christian won the fifth-place match Nov. 13 in a three-set sweep of No. 2 seed Cannon Falls. Behind 18 kills from Estelle Haugen, who reached 1,000 for her career early in the match, the Stars won 25-18, 25-19, 25-16.
Southwest Christian totaled an astonishing 53 kills on 75 points, earning 57 points in the victory.
Mehlayna Straub and Annika Veurink added 11 and 10 kills for the Stars.
The Stars beat Annandale 25-19, 22-25, 25-14, 25-22, in the consolation semifinals.
Haugen, one of five Ms. Baden Volleyball finalists, finished the tournament with 67 kills, three aces and 49 digs in earning all-tournament team.
The three-time all-state selection and conference player of the year in addition participating in the USA National Developmental Team camp this past September, concluded her four seasons with Southwest Christian with a 60-15 record.
Haugen, who signed with the University of Georgia last week, totaled more than 1,000 kills, 100 blocks and 700 digs in her career.
"Este is a coach’s dream. She is the player that does not have that 'off' switch. She goes as hard as she does in the game at every practice. If I let her, she would stay in the gym overnight," Southwest Christian coach Jessy Tow-Arnett said. "She is an amazing teammate. She is accountable, leads by example, very mentally tough, and is just a great kid! She is incredibly humble and still has a work ethic of someone that does not have a single offer to play anywhere. Despite being an incredible player already she is still very coachable. She is the total package. Love this kid. We will see amazing things for this girl in the future."
Junior Mehlayna Straub, who had a career-high 21 kills in the quarterfinals, finished the tournament with 43 kills, two aces and five blocking points.
Junior Annika Veurink added 41 kills, like Straub reaching double-digits in all three matches, while seniors Callie Coughlin and Paige Lemkuil totaled 16 and 10 kills, respectively. Coughlin had three aces in the tournament with senior setter Ella McIntosh setting up 146 assists over the three matches.
Defensive specialists Jayna and Luca Brendenberg had 47 and 35 digs with the senior libero adding three aces. Jayna signed with Palm Beach Atlantic University last week.
Southwest Christian completed the 2021 season with a 30-4 record.