Playing for the top spotFarmington is done playing all of its section opponents and head coach Mike Woody thinks his squad has a case to be named the top seed in the upcoming Section 1AAA Tournament.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Farmington is done playing all of its section opponents and head coach Mike Woody thinks his squad has a case to be named the top seed in the upcoming Section 1AAA Tournament.
That’s because with last Tuesday’s home victory over Northfield the Tigers finished 6-0 against their fellow Section 1AAA teams. Woody figures that might be enough earn his team the top spot despite a 14-10 record, its worst since 2005, heading into this week’s final two games of the regular season against Holy Angels and New Prague.
The Tigers knocked off Austin, Albert Lea and Hastings early on in the season, but their biggest section triumphs came when they stole five-game thrillers from Rochester Century and Rochester Mayo in a five-day span in late September. Century has the section’s best record at 15-4 and Mayo is 10-7-1, making them Farmington’s top competition for the top three spots ahead of 11-9 Northfield, 13-11 Owatonna and 11-6 Faribault, which lost to Century and Northfield already this season.
“I think we deserve to be No. 1 as much as anybody,” Woody said. “We’ve got zero losses against our section opponents and half of our losses are to ranked teams.”
Farmington 3, Northfield 1
The Tigers came out a step slow after a long weekend at the Century Invitational and had to rally for a 23-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-14 Missota Conference win over the Raiders last Tuesday at Tiger Gym.
“We were probably the worst we’ve been health-wise with players fighting the flu and after the Century tournament you could see the girls were digging deep physically and nothing was there in that first game,” Woody said. “We had a good run in the middle of Game 2 and you could see that put us in our comfort zone.”
Woody said good defense and serving helped set up his team’s offense and the Tigers responded by slamming down a season-high 56 kills. Senior outside hitter Danielle Dombeck provided a team-high 18 kills along with 31 digs, junior Katie Habeck put down 17 kills and 16 blocks and senior Lauren McHenry added 10 kills. Senior setter Rachel Sand was responsible for the distribution of the ball and piled up a season-high 40 assists.
Joining Dombeck in double-figure digs was Elizabeth Pappenfus, who returned from illness to collect 18, and Alexia Rains, who provided 13.
The Tigers had some ups and downs over the weekend, splitting four matches at the Blazer Invitational in Burnsville.
The tournament started with a close 2-0 loss to the host Blaze, but Farmington bounced back with a 25-16, 25-23 win over Concordia Academy-Roseville where Woody said his team “took care of business.”
The low point of the weekend came in the first game Saturday when the Tigers fell 2-0 to a Bloomington Jefferson team that entered with a record of 9-9. But once again the team came back with a 2-0 decision over Totino-Grace to end the weekend on a better note.
Dombeck led the Tigers with 29 kills and 55 digs over the weekend, upping her team-leading totals to 248 and 302, respectively. Habeck added 24 kills and 20 blocks and Sand had 68 assists.
Defensively, Pappenfus tacked on 40 blocks and Rains had 25.
Woody said during the tournament his team started to show the kind of consistency it will need in the section.
“We’re in the process. It’s building just like we’ve wanted it to,” he said. “We’ve proven we can play with anybody when we play at a level that’s more consistent, which we did in Burnsville. Hopefully we can carry that in”