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Chris Murphy, Published October 30 2012

Fergus Falls advances to section volleyball championship match

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – Coming into Tuesday’s match with Rocori, Fergus Falls had not lost a set to the Spartans in two regular-season matches.

The Otters weren’t about to start losing any when they were two wins away from heading to state for the first time in school history, sweeping the Spartans 25-13, 25-15, 25-5 in front of the home crowd.

The win puts top-seeded Fergus Falls (25-5) one win away from making school history in the Minnesota Class 3A, Section 8 championship game.

“We came in with the mindset that if we don’t know how to put these teams away, the big ones will catch up to us,” said Fergus Falls middle hitter Anna Monke, who finished with one ace and 10 kills. “We can’t go in with the mindset that we can let anything go or play less than we know we can. It’s a big deal to us. We’ve been working to get our program up for a long time and it’s all leading up to this.”

Fergus Falls didn’t leave much to the imagination, breaking out to a 15-2 lead in Set 1 and never looking back.

“We knew we had to come out hard,” said Fergus Falls outside hitter Morgan Hensch, who led the team with eight kills. “This is one of the first games I can honestly say we left it all on the court. We put them down. We had no mercy. As bad as that sounds, we haven’t done that all year. We need to start doing that now. We’re in the same exact position we were and we really want to come out and prove ourselves because we are a good team and we didn’t show it last year.”

No. 3-seeded Rocori (11-18) got its first lead in Set 2 at 2-1, but would never see the lead again, as Fergus Falls used a 9-2 run to break out to a 10-4 lead and a 10-5 run later to seal the set.

“We knew that Rocori coming in was going to come at us with everything they had,” Fergus Falls coach Renee Erickson said. “We came out from the gate. We were ready from the first serve. At this time in the season, you need to do that.”

Set 3 was an exclamation point, as Fergus Falls broke out to an 11-2 lead en route to a 25-5 shellacking. The Otters will play at 7 p.m. Saturday at a neutral site.

The Otters were swept in the section final by Bemidji last season.

“We knew this was our last game on this floor, so we really wanted to get our momentum for the next game and leave it all on the court” said Fergus Falls setter Brianna Rasmusson, who had four aces, four kills, two blocks, seven digs and 17 assists. “We have the tastes in our mouths from last year and we want revenge. We’re going to play as hard as we can.”

FF (kills-blocks-aces): Hensch 8-0-0, Swenson 4-1-0, Monke 7-0-1, Gaustad 6-0-0, Traiser 5-2-1, Rasmusson 4-2-4 (17 assists), Stocks 1-0-0, Smith 0-0-0 (18 digs).

R: Koshiol 4-0-0, Young 3-0-0, Templin 2-1-0, Ficker 1-0-0, Torborg 2-3-0, S. Koshiol 1-0-0, Rothstein 1-0-0, Sorenson 0-1-0, Buerman 0-2-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548