The playoffs can be cruel.
For the Shakopee volleyball team, they experienced that cruelness as they were upset in the quarterfinals of the playoffs by a team they beat twice during the regular season.
Shakopee, ranked No. 5 in the state, lost to Chaska 19-25, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A, Section 2 playoffs last Friday at Shakopee High School.
The Sabers entered the playoffs with a 22-5 record and having won nine games in a row and 14 out of its last 15 games. That record helped Shakopee secure the No. 1 seed in the Section 2AAA playoffs and a first round bye
Chaska entered the playoffs with a 14-13 record which gave them the No. 8 seed, which meant they had to start the playoffs with a match against No. 9 seed Willmar last Wednesday.
Despite that record, Chaska came into the playoffs with some big momentum as they finished the final weekend of the regular season with a second place finish in its own tournament. In that tournament, they defeated volleyball powerhouse Bethlehem Academy, Class A No. 1 ranked Mayer Lutheran and Class 2A No. 1 ranked Stewartville before losing to Class 3A No. 1 ranked Eagan in the championship match. (The Section 2AAA seeds were announced before the tournament).
Chaska carried that momentum into the quarterfinal match against Shakopee.
The Hawks jumped on Shakopee quickly in the first set and led 17-11. Shakopee, who hadn’t played a game in 10 days, cut that lead to 20-19 only to see Chaska win the next five points to win the first set 25-19.
Shakopee quickly forgot about the first set loss and jumped out to a 7-2 second set lead on the Hawks behind the strong serving of Karlee Jensen.
From that point, the second set was back and forth as Chaska won six straight points for an 8-7 lead. That lead would grow to 10-8 forcing Shakopee head coach Matt Busch to call a timeout.
That timeout worked as the Sabers won six straight points out of the timeout for a 14-10 lead.
The lead grew to 17-12 but Chaska crawled back into the game and tied it up at 21-21 and went on to win the set 25-23.
Shakopee kept its season going by winning the third set 25-21. Maddie Fratzke had three big kills late in that set to give the Sabers the win.
The fourth set started out as all Chaska as they won 10 of the first 13 points for a seven-point lead on the Sabers.
Shakopee didn’t quit and battled back to cut the lead to 12-8 and 17-13 before eventually taking a 23-22 lead.
Chaska rebounded and won the next three points to win the set and pull off the upset.
Chaska wasn’t done pulling off the upsets as they continued its strong play in the semifinals by beat No. 4 seed Eden Prairie in five sets 17-25, 25-14, 25-18, 19-25, 15-11.
The Hawks will now play No. 2 seed Minnetonka in the section championship on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Prior Lake High School.
Minnetonka reached the finals with a win against Chanhassen in the quarterfinals and a win against New Prague in the semifinals.