The Burnsville volleyball team has opened the season splitting its first four matches, but the road ahead start to get much tougher.

The Blaze are competing in the Southwest Minnesota Challenge Sept. 6-7 in Marshall. Burnsville opens the South Suburban Conference season Sept. 10 at Shakopee, the defending Section 2AAA champions, at 7 p.m.

Burnsville will take the 2-2 start under first-year coach Josh Wastvedt, but the conference season will bring an even bigger challenge. Three SSC squads are ranked in the top 10, including No. 1 Eagan, No. 2 Lakeville South and No. 4 Lakeville North.

Burnsville is 1-2 against Section 6AAA teams so far this fall, including a four-set home loss to Edina Sept. 3 (25-17, 25-21, 18-25, 25-13). 

Senior Julia Dam and junior Emma Fretheim each had double-digit kills with 14 and 12, respectively to lead the Blaze in the defeat. Sophomore Kiylah Franke recorded six kills, while junior Rilie Kupka had three.

Junior Shannon Murray finished with 32 setting assists, while adding two ace serves and 13 digs. Dam led in aces with three, while junior Kara Klavins had two and ninth-grader Corrina Benson, senior Megan Hjermstad and Kupka each had one.

Junior Anna Phommasengkeo led in digs with 15, while Hjermstad and Benson both had 10 and Klavins had nine. Kupka picked up two blocks, while Franke had one.

Burnsville's second SSC match is home to Rosemount Sept. 12. The Blaze is Mahtomedi Sept. 17, before returning home Sept. 19 to take on Eastview in league action. All three matches start at 7 p.m.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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