The Medford Tigers shocked the Minnesota High school volleyball world with a thrilling five set victory over two time defending State Champions Mayer Lutheran at the Xcel Energy Center today.  Medford won the first set 25-18 before Mayer Lutheran appeared to get back on track with 25-14, 25-21 wins to take a 2-1 sets lead.  Medford would not be denied.  The Tigers ran away with the fourth set 25-15 and carried that momentum into the fifth set.

Medford jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Crusaders Head Coach Joelle Grimsley took a time out and appeared to get her team settled back into the match.  Mayer Lutheran took a 10-9 lead in the set that goes to 15.  From there on it was very intense.  The Tigers had 5 match points in the fifth set and Mayer Lutheran could never get to a match point.

The first match point was at 14-13 and Mayer Lutheran took a time out with Medford junior libero Kiley Nihart serving.  The Crusaders tied it up to send the match into overtime after Olivia Tjernagel crushed a kill.  The Tigers won the next point thanks to their never say die attitude.  Mayer Lutheran tallied about the blocks before the ball popped up near the center of the net and Tiger junior setter Morgan Langeslag got the kill for the second match point 15-14.

Tjernagel collected another kill for a point to tie it at 15.  Emma Kniefel spanked a kill setting up the third match point.  The Crusaders tied the set again with a kill from Claudia Stahlke 16-16. Medford senior Rachel Luebbe smacked a kill to make it 17-16.  Mayer Lutheran tied it again on a Lily Wacholtz kill.

That set up Kinsey Cronin time.  The 6’0 junior got kills on the final two points off assists by Langeslag to capture Medford’s first win ever in their first appearance ever at the State Volleyball Tournament.

Perseverence was the key in Medford’s victory.  Mayer Lutheran ha 17 blocks in the match and Medford collected 4 blocks.  Multiple times after a block a Tiger would pick the ball up extending the point.  Medford had 58digs in the match led by Nihart with 18.  Senior Journey Anderst had 11 huge digs off the bench.

Mayer Lutheran had an attack percentage of .204 for the match and Medford’s was .199.  Langeslag had 52 assists and saved a number of ball from becoming overpasses.  Langeslag also finished with 3 huge kills for a .400 attack percentage.

Medford was led in kills by Junior Emma Kniefel with 21 kills, Cronin had 14 and hit a blistering .345 and Luebbe finished with 12 kills.

The Tigers are now 28-5 after beating the #3 ranked and #2 seed Mayer Lutheran and will play #10 rated and #3 seed Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (27-4).  The Jaguars swept New Life Academy 25-12, 25-20, 25-15.

First serve is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.  KDHL coverage starts at 2:45 p.m. if the match is on time.


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