|TMB poise puts freeze on
The Panther volleyball team
opened the 2004 state tournament by blanking Esko, 25-22,
25-17 and 25-12.
A kill from Laura Lanoue gave Tracy/Milroy/Balaton its
first point and a 1-0 lead. The teams exchanged points
until, with Tashia Lamb serving and the score 6-5 in
favor of TMB, the Panthers put up 3 straight points,
including a kill by Krysta Tholen and an ace block by
Lanoue, to go up 9-5.
Esko put up 4 of the next 5 points to close to 10-9
before Lanoue's serve gave TMB six points and the lead at
16-10. Two points by Esko then preceded another run by
TMB to bring the score to 19-12. Esko came right back to
put up 4 points and close to 19-16 and eventually to
21-20. Emily Miller served for 3 points to get to game
point at 24-20. Esko wasn't through yet and closed to
24-22 before Tessa Nelson got the 25th point on a kill.
With the first game under their belts the Panthers made
easier work of the second and third games, winning by
scores of 25-17 and 25-12.
"I thought we might be a little flat just because of
the new surroundings," said Panther Coach Katie
Gervais. "However we played well, they were a tough
"Tessa Nelson had 16 kills and the Panthers served
very aggressively," said radio announcer Bob
The Eskimos, making their first state tournament
appearance, brought a 27-2 record to state.
Clutch play prevails
The Panthers blanked Wabasha-Kellogg Friday to advance
to the state championship game. Game scores were 25-21,
25-20 and 27-25. Wabasha-Kellogg, which came into the
tourney with a 26-7 record, had beaten Pine River-Backus
in their opening match.
"We struggled with our serving in this match,"
said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "We came back in
games 2 and 3 and blocked very well. We need to make our
The Panthers used four-point runs during the serving of
Nicole Haecherl, Krysta Tholen and Tashia Lamb to outlast
their opponents in the first game 25-21.
In the second game, TMB got a 5 point run under Emily
Miller's serving, a six point run during Tholen's serve
and a 4 point run while Tessa Nelson served to the 25-20
In the third game W-K got off to a great start to forge
to a 13-6 lead. With the Panthers behind 15-7 Emily
Miller stepped up to the service line and put up 5 points
to close to 15-12. During that run TMB got kills from
Laura Lanoue and Tessa Nelson plus an ace block from
Nelson. W-K answered with a six point run to assume a
Then the mentally tough Panthers got a kill from Haecherl
and a hitting error to give TMB 2 points before W-K put
up their 22nd point to lead 22-17. Tashia Lamb came on to
serve for 4 points to bring the score to 21-22. The
Panther's Lanoue got the 21st point on a kill that forced
W-K to take a timeout. The time out helped and W-K got 2
points to lead 24-21 before the Panthers scored 4 times,
with 2 of them coming on a kill and block by Lanoue. With
the score 25-24 in favor of TMB, the Falcons knotted the
score at 25. At that point Nelson stepped up and got two
kills to win the game and match.
Dilworth comes close, but
Panthers refuse to lose
The Panther volleyball program earned its seventh
state championship banner since 1990 with a 3-0 win over
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at the Xcel Center in St Paul
Saturday. Game scores were 25-14, 25-21 and 27-25. As the
scores indicate, it wasn't easy as D-G-F got tougher as
the match progressed and forced the Panthers to play
their best to win.
"We wanted to serve deep in this match to move their
offense back and keep them out of rhythm," said
Coach Gervais. "We also asked Tessa Nelson to
concentrate on defensive blocking and she still got 17
Tracy/Milroy/Balaton got the all-important first game win
quite easily by a score of 25-14. That came primarily
through a nine point serving run by Krysta Tholen to make
it 10-3 and a seven point run while Nicole Haecherl
served to bring about a 19-7 TMB lead.
In the second game, a five-point serving run by Laura
Lanoue and a 4 point run by Tashia Lamb were offset by
D-G-F serving runs until a kill by Tessa Nelson on a
quick set and a kill by Haecherl closed out the game
The third game was a dogfight with TMB holding a slim
19-18 lead and Tessa Nelson serving. The Panthers got a
point on a net violation, another on a Rachel Gervais
kill and the 22nd point on an ace serve. D-G-F got 3
points before a hitting error gave TMB a 25-24 lead. When
the Rebels tied the score at 25-25 the Panthers got their
26th on a Lanoue kill and the game and match point on a
Nelson ace block.
The Panthers followed their game plan very well and
served very aggressively as shown by their 14 aces in the
TMB finished their season with a 29-4 season record.
The Rebels entered the tournament with a 25-3 record.
They advanced to the championship match with wins over
MACCRAY and Kasson-Mantorville.
Coach: Confidence, resilience
pay off at tournament time
Here's what Coach Katie Gervais has to say about the
Panthers' Class AA volleyball championship and state
Advance preparations"We went into the
tournament optimistic about our chances. We knew we had
to work as hard as we did to get there. As a coach you do
get concerned about being prepared for the teams you play
because you don't have a chance to scout them as you
would a subsection or section match. I owe a lot to our
coaching staff for scouting as well as they did and then
meeting for some late nights putting game plans
About Esko"Every team we played had different
strengths and weaknesses. Our girls did a great job of
adjusting to those. We struggled with ball control versus
Esko, mainly because they do a lot of tipping and
off-speed shots. We did a nice job of playing the ball
with tips, you don't get much time to transition to hit.
By the third game our offense was flowing much
About Wabasha-Kellogg"Wabasha-Kellogg had a
very good blocking team despite their height. We
struggled here and there with block coverage and letting
balls drop. The girls really showed a great deal of
determination in this match because in games two and
three we were down 6-7 points in each. They found their
way back into each game, which is a great morale builder
going into the championship match."
About Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton"The girls
followed our game plan to a tee. We served aggressively,
we did a nice job serve receiving, and we established our
middle. We really focused on taking out their two big
hitters (Lopez sisters) by establishing a block and
serving to them to take them out of some of their
About the team"I am extremely proud of our
girls...towards the end of the year they played with more
consistency and much more confidence and fight. They
strung together seven great matches during tournament
play. They have consistently got better during the year
and really peaked at the right time. I have said all
along that TMB may have a tradition of going to state,
but the experience was new and definitely exciting for
Panther state tournament
Blocks-Tessa Nelson 12, Emily Miller 4
and Laura Lanoue 6.
Kills- Nelson 48, Haecherl 20, Miller 12, Gervais 11 and
Digs-Andrea VanMoer 38, Lanoue 47, Tholen 38 and Nelson
Set assists-Krysta Tholen 94.
Serving-Miller 40/40 1 ace, Lanoue 40-40 2 aces and
Tholen 40-40 and 3 aces.
Nelson, Tholen, Van Moer
named to all-tournament team
Three Panthers were elected to the Class
AA Minnesota State Girls' Volleyball All-Tournament team.
Middle hitter Tessa Nelson, setter Krysta Tholen, and
defensive specialist Andrea Van Moer were honored. All
three are seniors at Tracy Area High School.
Other Class AA all-tournament team members are: Carley
Heckman, Mayer Lutheran; Amy Glomski, Wabasha-Kellogg,
Cayla Schroder, Katie Boyum, Kasson-Mantonrville; Kelly
Lopez, Jennifer Lopez, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
A panel of coaches attending the tournament selected the
Tryouts set Sunday
Junior Olympic volleyball
The Southwest Minnesota
Junior Olympic volleyball program plans their 2005
informational meeting Thursday, Nov. 18, beginning at
The meeting will be held in Charter Hall room 201 on the
campus of Southwest Minnesota State University. This
meeting is open to athletes between the ages of 11-18,
who plan on attending tryouts and their parents. The will
introduce the new 2005 training format for each age
Tryouts will be held Sunday, Nov. 21, in the PE gym at
Southwest Minnesota State University. Registration will
run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. outside the PE Gym.
Tryouts for 12-15 year-olds will be held from noon to 1
p.m. Tryouts for 16 to 18 year-olds follows from 1:15 to
2:30 p.m. Cost of the tryout is $10.
For more information call Joe Sussenguth at 507-929-0853
or e-mail the club at email@example.com.
Coach: 'I'm very,
very proud of them'
It's not often that the Tracy Area High School gym is
brimming with people at 10:45 p.m. on a Saturday night.
Then again, it's not every day that a Panther athletic
team brings home a state championship trophy.
Just about everyone was smiling, despite the late hour,
at a welcome home reception for the Class AA champion
Tracy/Milroy/Balaton volleyball team Saturday. Three fire
trucks, an ambulance, and a procession of cars escorted
the team into town. With sirens and horns blaring, the
procession motored by several homemade "state
champ" banners lining Hwy. 14.
"It's pretty impressive," said Master of
Ceremony Jim Miller of the Panther volleyball program's
seventh state championship since 1990.
"I'm very, very proud of them," said Coach
The Panther mentor said that the team's Section 3AA
victories over first Renville County West, and then
defending state champion Jackson County Central, were
watershed moments for the team. Getting past the two
state-ranked teams, she said, gave TMB athletes great
confidence going into the state tourney.
Gervais said that she felt that the Panthers had great
potential at state. But, the coach added, she never
dreamed that the Panthers would sweep all nine games in
The state tournament, Miller said, is an indication of
how good the volleyball is in Southwest Minnesota.
The Panthers have won the state Class A or Class AA title
(after the tourney expanded from two to three classes) in
1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001 and now 2004. Jackson
County Central captured the Class AA championship in 1999
and 2003. Renville County West took the Class AA title in
2002. The Panthers' 212 Conference Rival Central
Minnesota Christian won the Class A championship three
consecutive years in 1998-2000.
The Panther seniors thanked the fans, parents, and
cheerleaders for the welcome home celebration, and the
support the team has felt throughout the year.
"You were the best fans by far, not just at state,
but through the whole season," said Tessa Nelson.