MEDFORD — A pair of high-achieving seniors reached career milestones as the Medford volleyball team capped the regular season with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-13) Gopher Conference victory over NRHEG on Monday night.
In the opening set, Morgan Langeslag was credited with her 2,000th career assist when Kinsey Cronin buried a perfect pass above the net for the kill. One set later, classmate, Emma Kniefel, attacked the ball on the right side and converted her 1,000th career kill.
“It was a fun night of accomplishments,” Medford coach Missy Underdahl said.
With the sweep, the Tigers reach 20 victories for the second consecutive season and will enter the stacked Section 1-A tournament sporting a 20-8 overall record.
As of Tuesday, No. 8-ranked Medford — which finished 6-1 in Gopher Conference action — stands as the No. 2 seed on the West side of the bracket, one spot behind No. 7-ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo (18-8) and one spot ahead of unranked Grand Meadow (20-10). The East standings contain fifth-ranked Mabel-Canton (30-2) and No. 9 Caledonia (22-6).
The official seeds and opening-round matchups will be announced on Wednesday afternoon. If the Tigers earn the second seed, they would receive an opening-round bye and play at home on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. against the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 10 matchup.
On Monday against the Panthers, Cronin led Medford’s offensive charge with 11 kills and two aces while Alyvia Johnson added nine kills and Kniefel seven. Langeslag handed out 40 assists.
On defense, Kniefel led the pack with nine digs while Kiley Nihart, Izzy Reuvers and Johnson chipped in five apiece.
“They (NRHEG) started out very scrappy and were getting touches on a lot of balls,” Underdahl said. “Once we adjusted, we ran our offense and they did a nice job of finding the open holes on their defense. We also served strong, not allowing them to get into a rhythm on offense. Everyone contributed to our win last night.”
Kendall Johnson led the Panthers with five kills and four digs. The Panthers finish the season 15-15 overall and 3-5 in conference action. They will begin the Section 1-AA West tournament on Oct. 21.
Medford 3, NRHEG 0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-13)
Medford leaders: Emma Kniefel (7 kills, 9 digs), Morgan Langeslag (40 assists), Kinsey Cronin (11 kills, 2 aces), Alyvia Johnson (7 kills, 5 digs)
NRHEG leaders: Kendall Johnson (5 kills, 4 digs), Grace Tufte (9 assists)