Most successful season ends in 1A-East finals

ABOVE: Kailee Olerud retreats to keep this ball alive while Mariah Edgington is ready for the next play during the sub-section championship match. BELOW: Amelia Solum attacks against double block attempt from Sarina Stortz (#16) and Jordyn Newgard. At left, Maggie Lile provides cover for Spring Grove. Photos by S. Lee Epps
By : 
S. Lee Epps

The winningest volleyball season in Spring Grove history came to an end in the sub-section championship match at Rochester on Nov. 1. The Lions (26-4) were back in the title match for the first time in 17 seasons. The result was the same as in 2001, a 3-0 loss to perennial powerhouse Mabel-Canton, which in 2018, was in the 1A finals for seventh straight season. 

It was the fifth meeting between the two squads this fall and the second with a championship at stake. The Lions upended the Cougars in the finals of the Mabel-Canton Labor Day Tournament, but Spring Grove has not been able to duplicate that result. 

The Lions closed the season with a 26-4 record, the most wins in program history. All four losses came against state-ranked No. 6 Mabel-Canton.

It was the 30th win for the Cougars, who have posted 30 wins in 10 of the last 11 seasons. But two days after winning a 11th sub-section crown in the last 21 years, M-C (30-5) was eliminated by Sub-section 1A West champion Medford (27-5) in the Section 1A championship match 3-1. 

M-C 3, SG 0

25-21, 25-9, 25-21

Each team gave away 27 error points, but the Cougars created considerably more attacks and 44 kills to 21 for the Lions. Still at the net, SG did hold a 5-to-1 advantage in scoring blocks.

Lion coach Kelsey Morken thought the Cougars got their middle hitters more involved than expected. "We may have over prepared for their outside hitters."

She added that it was difficult for the Lions to establish their own offensive rhythm while having to "play a lot of defense."

The Lions held a lead only three times, but two of the three sets were very competitive despite early deficits. In both of those two competitive sets. M-C took a quick lead. But each time, Spring Grove battled back to be close at the end.

While noting that playing from behind is not preferred, Morken said, "Playing from behind has never scared us," speaking of the girls' steady focus throughout the season.

Oddly enough, the Lions had the best start in the second set - the only one in which M-C won by a wide margin.

In set one, the Lions trailed early 7-1 but rallied to lead 11-10. Then a four-point run put the Cougars in front to stay. A kill by Alyssa Johnson made it a one point margin at 20-19 before M-C won 25-21.

SG led 5-3 in set two, which was tied early five times before an amazing 13-to-1 Cougar run on the way to a 25-9 rout. M-C was nearly flawless with 13 kills with no misfires at the net, except for the Lions scoring with two blocks.

With the Lion fans roaring with encouragement, Spring Grove would again contend in set three. After dominating set two, M-C appeared to be in complete control while taking an 11-2 lead in the third go-around.

SG would outscore the Cougars 19-14 the rest of the way, and like in set one, again got back within one point at 20-19 - this time with an ace block by Sydnie Kampschroer.

But while the Lions finished with only one kill in their last 6 attacks, the Cougars closed the match while scoring with 4 kills (and only one error) on their final 7 attacks.

It ended with a match-high 19th kill from Sarina Stortz, the KFIL Radio M-C Player of the Match. Maddy Michels and Payton Danielson each added 8 kills.

Six Spring Grove players were credited with kills, led by KFIL SG Player of the Match Mariah Edgington with 10 kills while contributing to 2 scoring blocks. The senior standout also defended with a team-high 19 digs, including a 1,000th career save during the second set.

Johnson (4 kills) and Maggie Lile each had 14 digs along with 12 saves by Amelia Solum and 11 by Kailee Olerud.

"What impresses me," said M-C coach Lonnie Morken, "the Spring Grove team plays such hard-nosed defense; they refuse to let the ball hit the ground and keep rallies going.

"We knew they had one of the top players in the whole state," he added, referring to Edgington. 

Neither team served as well against each other as they did in their previous two best-of-five-set matches; neither gained a scoring boost from the service line. Each squad had more serving errors (SG 6, M-C 7) than aces (SG 3, M-C 4).

Kampschroer served 100% (9 for 9) with a team-best 2 aces.

Kelsey Morken said the Spring Grove coaches are so proud of the effort and consistent hard work of this team. That dedication, combined with talent, resulted in unprecedented success.

The girls were certainly deserving of the exceptional fan support that followed them to Rochester. The Lion crowd was not only supportive during successful plays, but was also proactive when things did not go well. That is rare. 

After the disappointment of what could have been a crowd-quieting second set, the girls were greeted with a loud standing roar as they took the court for set three. That final set did not start well for Spring Grove, but the Lion faithful and their beloved team never faded - either in voice in the stands or effort on the floor.


SG 0, MC 3


Attacks: SG 114, MC 150

Kills/Errors: SG 21/15, MC 44/17

Hitting Efficiency: SG 5%, MC 18%

Serving %: SG 88%, MC 91%

Serve Aces/Errors: SG 3/6, MC 4/7

Digs: SG 76, MC 70


INDIVIDUALS: K-kills, B-ace blocks, A-ace serves, S-set assists, D-digs. In order of jersey number

Doering 0.5B, 1A, 1S, 2D

Olerud 2K, 1B, 15S, 11D

Johnson 4K, 0.5B, 14D

Solum 2K, 1S, 12D

Edgington 10K, 1B, 3S, 19D

Kampschroer 2K, 2B, 2A, 1S, 4D

Lile 1K, 14D


Sub-section 1A East Volleyball Tournament

Play-in matches

(#9) Kingsland 3, (#8) Houston 0

(#7) Rushford-Peterson 3, (#10) Schaeffer Academy 0 

(#6) Lewiston-Altura 3, (#11) Lanesboro 0 


Oct. 25 quarterfinals

#1 Mabel-Canton 3, Kingsland 0

#4 Caledonia 3,  #5 Fillmore Central 1 

##2 Spring Grove 3, Rushford-Peterson 1

#3 Wabasha-Kellogg 3, Lewiston-Altura 1   


Oct. 27 semi-finals

Mabel-Canton 3, Caledonia 1

Spring Grove 3, Wabasha-Kellogg 2


Thursday, Nov. 1 finals

#1 Mabel-Canton 3 vs. #2 Spring Grove 0


Spring Grove VOLLEYBALL*conference match. 

26 wins, 4 losses (12-2 SEC)

W vs.*Randolph 3-0

W at *LeRoy-Ostrander 3-0


at Mabel-Canton Tourney (SG champion)

W vs. Waukon 2-0

W vs. Grand Meadow 2-0

W vs. Lanesboro 2-0

W vs. Kingsland 2-0

W vs. Rushford-Peterson 1-1

L vs. Mabel-Canton 1-1

W vs. Mabel-Canton 2-0


W vs. *Lanesboro 3-0

L *at Mabel-Canton 0-3

W *at Glenville-Emmons 3-0

L vs. *Schaeffer Academy 3-0


at Waukon Tourney (SG repeat champion)

W vs. Lansing Kee 2-0

W vs. Waukon 2-0

W vs. Postville 2-0

W vs. Waukon 2-0

W vs. MFL MarMac 2-0


W vs. *Houston 3-0

W at *Kingsland 3-1

W*at Lanesboro 3-0

W*at Grand Meadow 3-1

L vs. *Mabel-Canton (HC) 1-3

W at Caledonia 3-1

W*at Houston 3-1

W vs. *Kingsland 3-0

W vs.*Lyle/Pacelli 3-0

SECTION #2 seed

W vs. #7 Rushford-Peterson 3-1

W vs. #3 Wabasha-Kellogg 3-2

L vs. #1 Mabel-Canton 0-3



Final record: 11-8 (10-4 SEC)

W vs. Randolph 2-0

W at LeRoy-Ostrander 2-0

W vs. Lanesboro 2-0

L at Mabel-Canton 0-2

W at Glenville-Emmons 2-1

L vs. Schaeffer Academy 1-2

W vs. Houston 2-0

L at Kingsland 1-2

>>R-P Tourney

L vs. Winona 0-3

L vs. Winona Cotter 1-2

W vs. Rushford-Peterson 2-1

L vs. Winona 0-2

W at Lanesboro 2-1

W at Grand Meadow 2-0

L vs. Mabel-Canton 0-2

L at Caledonia 0-2

W at Houston 2-0

W vs. Kingsland 2-0

W vs. Lyle/Pacelli 2-0



Final record; 9-4-1 (9-4-1 SEC)

W vs. Randolph 2-0

L at LeRoy-Ostrander 0-2

W vs. Lanesboro 1-1

L at Mabel-Canton 1-2

W at Glenville-Emmons 2-0

W vs. Houston 2-0

W at Kingsland 1-1

W at Lanesboro 2-0

L at Grand Meadow 0-2

L vs. Mabel-Canton 1-2

L at Caledonia 0-2

W at Houston 2-1

W vs. Kingsland 1-1

W vs. Lyle/Pacelli 2-0



Final record: 9-11

W at LeRoy-Ostrander 2-0

L at Mabel-Canton 0-2

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 2-0

L vs. Houston 1-2

L at Kingsland 1-2

L vs. Caledonia

W vs. Fillmore Central

L vs. Stewartville

W vs. Caledonia

W vs. Fillmore Central

W at Lanesboro 3-0

L at Grand Meadow 0-3

W vs. Mabel-Canton 2-1

L at Caledonia 1-2

L at Houston

W vs. Kingsland

L vs. La Crescent 0-2

W vs. Caledonia 1-1

L vs. Lewiston-Altura 0-2

L vs. Lewiston-Altura 0-2



Final record: 12-9

W at LeRoy-Ostrander 2-0

W at Mabel-Canton 2-0

W vs. Houston 2-1

L at Kingsland 0-2

L vs. Fillmore Central 0-2

W vs. St. Charles 2-0

L vs. Stewartville 0-2

W vs. Houston 2-0

W vs. St. Charles 2-0

W at Lanesboro 2-1

L at Grand Meadow 1-2

L vs. Mabel-Canton 1-2

L at Caledonia 0-3

W at Houston 2-1

W vs. Kingsland 3-0

W vs. La Crescent 1-1

L vs. Caledonia 0-2

W vs. Cotter 2-0

L vs. Lewiston-Altura 0-2

L vs. Lewiston-Altura 1-2

W vs. Lyle/Pacelli 3-0