This was supposed to be the Visitation volleyball team’s shot at a state title. The Blazers entered Thursday’s Class AA quarterfinal with defending champion Wadena-Deer Creek firmly believing they could contend for a championship.
“We just didn’t play good volleyball at all,” coach Joseph Zimmermann said. “We gave a lot of points away.”
The Blazers lost 3-2 to the Wolverines on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in sobering fashion. Visitation showed its grit, bouncing back from slow start to take a 2-1 set lead before falling flat.
In the end, unforced errors were the difference between winning and defeat. WDC stole the 25-12, 18-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-3 matchup.
“We pulled it together and were really aggressive,” Blazers senior Anne Debertin said. “And then we mentally collapsed.”
Visitation will face Esko at 5 p.m. on Friday in the consolation semifinals.
The Wolverines looked poised for a quick victory in the first set, blazing past Visitation in a 25-12 victory. But the Blazers (24-7) rebounded to take the next two sets, primarily because they showed the aggressiveness and strong defensive play that led them to the state tournament.
But in the fourth, with a shot at closing out the Wolverines (28-4), Visitation collapsed.
WDC fought back, winning the fourth and taking a commanding 9-1 lead to start the fifth.
“We just weren’t mentally in the match in Game 4 and Game 5,” Zimmermann said. “We made a lot of silly mistakes. Our timing was off. We weren’t taking proper footwork. It was just mental.”
Debertin led the team with 19 kills on Thursday, while Mary Mullen had 10 kills.
The loss sets up a rematch with Esko. Last year, the Blazers beat the Eskomos 3-1 in the consolation semifinals.
Visitation looks to do the same on Friday.
“They played us strong last year, and we played extremely well,” Zimmermann said. “It’s going to be an extremly tough match, but if we take care of the ball we’ll be in good shape. We didn’t take care of the ball today. Hopefully we’ll get to play another game.”