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Volleyball: Tigers fall just short at Mayo

Top-seeded Rochester Mayo thwarted Farmington’s upset bid by winning some key points late in last Thursday’s five-game thriller in the Section 1AAA semifinals.

The Spartans (24-4) trailed in games 1-0 and 2-1, but reeled off the final three points to hold on 25-21 in Game 4 and fended off a late Tiger rally to advance 15-13 in the decisive fifth game at Mayo High School. They won another five-gamer over Owatonna to advance to the Class 3A state tournament.

“It was really competitive and back and forth all night long,” Farmington coach Mike Woody said.

The Tigers were clicking in Games 1 and 3 when they overcame slow starts to win 25-21 and 25-18.

“We had a well-balanced offense and they had no answer. We were putting balls away that we weren’t in Games 4 and 5. They were keeping them alive and there were tons of long rallies,” Woody said.

One of those long rallies sparked Mayo’s match-deciding run in Game 5. With the score tied at 4-4, a Mayo dig attempt sailed away from the court, but hit a basketball hoop and deflected back into play. Mayo kept the ball alive and went on to win the point, which started an 8-4 run that made the score 12-8.

“We could have kept it going and continued serve, but they get that break and got the momentum,” Woody said.

Kenzie Hesse led Farmington with 23 kills. Emma Fahning was right behind with 21 kills and 21 digs.

Diana Comes led the team with 24 digs. Hesse added 18 and setter Ruthie Schmitt had 15 digs and 49 assists.

Schmitt finished the season with a school-record 896 assists. She shattered the previous record of 735 set by Breanna Guzek. Hesse’s 380 kills rank second in program history and Fahning tied the single-season record for ace serves with 69.

The Tigers finished with a record of 19-12. They reached the section semifinals for the first time in four years.

“This group finally stayed healthy and instead of trying to hold on to what we’ve done, we got better,” Woody said. “We peaked when we needed to and put ourselves in position to put it out on the table in the section semifinals. We just weren’t quite able to pull it off.”