Bengals win four in a row to secure Blaine Invitational crown

As we head into the final two weeks of volleyball’s regular season, plenty has yet to be determined, like conference titles and section seedings.


Andover’s search for a third overall win will continue after losing its 11th straight match by a 3-1 score at Maple Grove Sept. 26.

The streak includes the Apple Valley Eagle Invite and Northwest Suburban Conference matches.

Thursday’s loss to the Crimson started rocky with a 25-9 loss in the opening set before the Huskies showed signs of life by winning the second set 27-25. The Crimson regained its focus winning the third and fourth sets 25-16 and 25-18.

Andover’s Hannah Peterson highlighted the evening with four aces and 24 digs. Heather Keyes had seven kills and Madison Hahn had 12 sets.


The Tornadoes dropped to 6-3 overall and into a four-way tie for third place in the very competitive Northwest Suburban Conference after a 3-1 loss to unbeaten Champlin Park, Sept. 26.

The Rebels and Osseo have matching 6-0 records inside the conference but Osseo takes the edge with a 14-0 overall record.

Champlin Park started strong by winning the opening set 25-13 before Anoka found more consistent play to win the second set 25-21. The Rebels won a very close third set that went into extra points 29-27 before closing out the match with a 25-19 win in set four.

Anoka coach Chris Fenwick said his squad made too many serving errors in the third set and couldn’t recover in time to save the set. “Otherwise, we were in control of that [set]. The momemntum thing swung back to Champlin Park and we never fully recovered,” he said.

The loss snapped a four match winning streak for the Tornadoes.

Fenwick has confidence in winning match-ups against anyone, but getting the team to buy-in to what he’s saying is another story. “At times they are comfortable with not winning the close ones [and that] needs to be changed in a hurry,” he said.

Anoka’s 3-2 win at Centennial Sept. 12 was the marque win during the streak. Senior hitter Megan Lindenfelser had 23 kills and 16 digs to highlight the stats sheet.

Fenwick said the key for his most consistent hitter has been learning how to end a point instead of continue a rally. “I want her to go for the win and not be affraid to lose,” he said.

Fenwick noted how Anoka was able to out-serve the Cougars over the final three sets to win the match. “Instead of giving up they showed a lot of heart and won the next three,” he said. “I think this is what it will take to go back to state.”


After losing a 3-2 match to Northwest Suburban Conference foe Champlin Park, Blaine (13-4) won four straight matches to capture the Blaine Invite title Sept. 28.

Blaine beat Minneapols Southwest, Chisago Lakes and Concordia Academy. The Bengals toppped Roseville 2-1 in the title match.

That success continued Tuesday night with another conference sweep, topping Park Center 3-0.

Blaine's Brooke Christianson, left, hits past a Shakopee blocker at the Apple Valley Invite, Sept. 24. Photo by Rick Orndorf
Blaine’s Brooke Christianson, left, hits past a Shakopee blocker at the Apple Valley Invite, Sept. 24. Photo by Rick Orndorf

The Bengals loss to Champlin Park was the only match during the week that was bookended by weekend tournaments.

Coach Celeste Gorman said it was tough to point to one area in the loss. “We got comfortable and they kept turning up the heat,” she said as they lost Taylor Morgan for the season to an ACL injury.

Only three days after losing to No. 3 ranked Eagan 2-1 in the Apple Valley Eagle Volleyball Invitational, Blaine succombed to the Rebels which moved to 6-0 (12-2), one of two unbeaten teams in conference play (Osseo 6-0, 14-0).

Before the Oct. 1 win against Park Center, Tuesday matches inside the Blaine Fieldhouse have proven to be a bad combination for the Bengals after dropping another 3-2 loss to Owatonna one week earlier.

Blaine built a 2-0 lead winning the openning sets 25-16 and 26-24 and appeared to be in control of the match.

The Rebels weren’t going down that easy as they won the final three sets 25-20, 25-21 and 15-10 to finish off the upset.

Rebels hitter Mariya Sampson hit at a .500 clip (32-62) with just five errors and had both of the team’s blocked shots.



Jason Olson is at
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