For the second straight week, the Farmington volleyball team came away from a hectic slate of games with a slew of wins and one hard-fought loss against an impressive opponent.
The Tigers' lone setback was a three-set thriller to 17-2 and seventh-ranked Andover in the opening round of the Cretin-Derham Hall Tournament Saturday. Coach Mike Woody's team bounced back after that, sweeping St. Peter and South St. Paul before finishing off the tourney with a three-game victory over Hill-Murray. Add in last Thursday's non-conference home sweep over Hudson (Wis.) and the Tigers were 19-4 heading into Tuesday night's contest in Rochester against Mayo.
But the Tigers have been oblivious to their surroundings this season. They're 7-2 at home, 5-1 on the road, 7-1 on neutral courts and 4-1 in the Missota Conference.
"It's been a little bit of a surprise, but we made a big step last year," said Woody, who guided the Tigers to a 16-10 mark in his first year as head coach. "We competed in the conference, we just couldn't win the close matches. This year we have more weapons that are helping us get over the top. To be 4-1 and 19-4 has definitely exceeded expectations."
Farmington won the first game 25-21 before dropping 25-17 and 15-12 decisions to Andover in the opening round of the Cretin-Derham Hall Tournament.
"It was a very good match against a very good opponent," Woody said. "We just had a bad run of six points in the middle of the second game, then we spotted them four points to start game three and couldn't make up that ground."
Kirstee Rotty had 20 digs and 22 serve receptions in the loss. Kate Otten contributed 10 kills and 10 digs and Danielle Dombeck added six kills and 14 digs.
Andover's 1-2 punch of Megan Carlson and Lauren Cipperly combined for 27 kills and 37 digs in the victory.
"We definitely feel like we can play with teams like that," Woody said. "The more and more we play, the more we learn and see the few points here and there that we have to win to win the match."
Vs South St. Paul
The Tigers got back in the win column with a 25-18, 25-14 showing against South St. Paul. Dombeck and Otten combined for 21 kills in the front row, while Rotty led the back row with 21 digs and 13 serve receptions.
Vs St. Peter
A 48 of 49 effort at the service line helped Farmington roll past St. Peter, 25-13, 25-6 in its third game of the tournament. Otten slammed eight kills and Dombeck six as eight different FHS players recorded kills.
The Tigers extended their winning streak to three games by holding off Hill-Murray 25-14, 18-25, 15-7 in the tournament finale.
Otten was the go-to hitter, putting down 13 kills. Dombeck added four and Habeck and Amanda Zylka each added three.
Coach Woody's squad geared up for the weekend tournament by rolling past Hudson (Wis.) 25-17, 25-15, 25-15 Thursday night in Farmington.
Otten had another big night with 12 kills, a perfect 12-for-12 serving and 12 digs. Dombeck added seven kills, nine digs and three ace serves.
Rotty once again shined defensively, recording 28 digs, handling 43 serves and dishing out 13 assists. Sabrina Siple shared the duties as she handled 47 serves and put up 15 assists.
On the leader board
Farmington players can be found among the state's leaders in several individual statistics.
Freshman Katie Habeck leads the state in solo blocks and total blocks with 95 and 143, respectively. Only two other players in the state have over 100.
Teammate Kirstee Rotty, last year's state leader in digs, is at it again in the back row. She has piled up 434 digs in 59 games, an average of 7.4 per game. She is also ranked 11th in serve receptions with 6.7 per game.
Senior Kate Otten is tied for fourth in the state with 244 kills, an average of 4.3 per game. Teammate Danielle Dombeck is 24th with 193 kills, or 3.4 per game.
As a team, Farmington ranks 10th in kills, fifth in blocks and eighth in digs.