The stage is set for the Big South Conference volleyball overall championship showdown.
East Division champion St. Peter will host West Division champion Marshall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.
St. Peter finished off the regular season with a 3-0 home victory (25-9, 25-10, 25-13) over Fairmont on Tuesday to up to 8-1 in conference and 20-7 overall.
Marshall swept Redwood Valley 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-11) to improve to 6-0 and 18-4.
St. Peter easily defeated Fairmont (4-16 overall, 1-8 conference) for a season sweep.
St. Peter head coach Carmen Hanson said she expects a different match against Marshall.
“No. 1 it was our goal to win our side, and the girls did that, so I’m happy about that,” Hanson said. “Marshall is always tough, and we definitely have to play a totally different game against them. Offensively and defensively, we’ve got to play a lot quicker game.”
Ranked No. 4 in the state in Class AA, Marshall has been to state numerous times, including the last two years.
“They have been winning state championships and have always been the top gun in the Big South,” Hanson said. “They’ve just got a consistent program, and I think a lot of times it’s more the name than necessarily the players, but they’re all-around solid, so we know we’re going to have to play a few things differently.”
Ranked No. 46 in the state in Class AA, St. Peter has never won the overall Big South title, but the Saints did win the former South Central Conference a number of times.
Against Fairmont, the Saints had a strong serving game with 11 aces and only missing a couple of serves.
Allie McCabe led with 24 service points, including six aces. Paige Hewitt had 10 service points with one ace. McKenna VanZee notched six service points with one ace.
McCabe also picked up a team-high six digs and two kills. Hewitt also had a team-high 19 set assists, plus three digs and two kills. VanZee added one set assist and one dig.
Sarah Conlon led with nine kills and two blocks, plus one ace serve and one dig.
Brielle Bushaw collected five kills, three digs and one block.
Breanna Hagen also had five kills and three digs.
Carlie Chabot had three kills and one dig.
Lilly Ruffin notched one kill, one block and one set assist.
Lauren Niemeyer picked up one dig.
Maggi Pierret had two kills.
Grace Remmert had two ace serves and six set assists.
“We played together as a team,” Hanson said. “Everybody got in, and we had some really god serves. I think that was a big part of it. I think we only missed one or two serves (97 percent) all night, so that was a big key. Minimizing errors is always a big plus.”
The Saints also honored their eight upperclasswomen on senior night. Graduating are tri-captains Conlon, McCabe and Pierret, along with Bushaw, Chabot, Hagen, Hewitt and student manager Alix Bocanegra.
Hanson enjoys the senior leadership.
“They’re a great bunch of girls,” she said. “They give a lot of heart. They’re just nice people. I’ve had a lot of them play for me for quite a few years, so it’s going to be very different not having that. We’re looking at the last of the Chabots. I’ve had two of her sisters. It’s going to be a whole different game next year, but I think we’ve got some really good underclassmen who are gong to step up, too.”
The Saints finish off the regular season at home with a six-team scrimmage at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct 17 with GFW, Mankato East, Mankato West, Maple River and Watertown-Mayer.
The Section 2AA playoffs start Oct. 24.
Big South Conference Standings
St. Peter 8-1-0 20-7-0
New Ulm 7-2-0 8-8-0
Waseca 4-3-0 7-5-0
St. James Area 4-4-0 10-11-0
Blue Earth Area 1-6-0 1-21-0
Fairmont 1-9-0 4-17-0
Marshall 6-0-0 18-4-0
Redwood Valley 4-1-0 17-4-0
Windom Area 3-2-0 17-10-0
Jackson County Central 2-3-0 11-8-0
Pipestone Area 2-3-0 10-11-0
Luverne 1-5-0 9-8-0
Worthington 0-4-0 5-19-0