Blaine and Andover will make one more trip to the southern suburbs to tune up for the upcoming high school volleyball playoffs.
The two Northwest Suburban Conference schools will play in the Eastview Invitational in Apple Valley Friday and Saturday. They were in Apple Valley about three weeks ago to play in the Eagle Invitational at Apple Valley High School. In that tournament, Blaine went 3-1 and took third place, while Andover was 1-3.
Going into this week’s play, Blaine’s loss to Wayzata at the Eagle Invitational has been the Bengals’ only defeat this season. After beating Elk River in three straight sets Tuesday, Blaine is 19-1 overall.
Blaine and Eden Prairie, second and third in the state Class 3A poll, are the highest-ranked large-school teams at the Eastview Invitational. Stewartville, ranked second in Class 2A, also is in the field.
Blaine played Eden Prairie for third place at the Eagle Invitational, with the Bengals prevailing in a best-of-three-sets match.
The Bengals also were 7-0 in the Northwest Suburban Conference, tied for first with Anoka, going into this week’s play. The Bengals and Tornadoes will play ay 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Blaine High School.
Lydia Dimke, a 6-foot-2-inch junior setter, is Blaine’s top player. When she’s not setting for a teammate, she’s often scoring a point with a thunderous spike.
Andover was 9-11 overall after defeating Centennial in five sets in a Northwest Suburban match Oct. 4. The Huskies were 5-3 in the conference, good for fourth place. Andover senior Marissa McNallan is among the metro-area leaders in kills, while sophomore Hannah Peterson is among the leaders in digs.
Spring Lake Park of the North Suburban Conference also is making the trip to the Eastview Invitational. The Panthers were 6-12 overall after winning one of four matches at the Lakeville North Invitational last weekend. They faced Lakeville North, the top-ranked team in Class 3A, in the first round, losing a best-of-three match in straight sets.
Mike Shaughnessy is at firstname.lastname@example.org