After the Edina match to end the regular season, New Life Academy head coach Wally Bomgren was hoping that complete game mindset would carry into the section tournament.
It took two weeks for the Eagles to play their first section match, but the players didn't disappoint as they played a well-rounded game against No. 10 seed St. Paul Humboldt/Open World Learning on Tuesday night resulting in a sweep.
"We had one of our best matches against Edina to end the regular season," Bomgren said. "During the two weeks of practice, we were focused on making sure that mentality stayed. The players were hungry to play and win, which showed on Tuesday night."
It was all New Life on Tuesday night as the Eagles showed their offensive and defensive skills early and often. That resulted in a 25-6 win in the first set and a 25-7 win in the second set. The third set continued to be all Eagles as New Life won 25-11 to earn the sweep.
Bomgren said the biggest reason behind these wins is how well-rounded the Eagles are both offensively and defensively. On the offensive end, New Life has multiple hitters that can find the empty spots and record the kills.
With players like Elli Wiertsema and Annika Forbes on the sides for hitters and setter Kaitlyn Groeneweg in the middle, the chemistry has developed and the connections are stronger to record the kills for the Eagles.
On the defensive end, Hannah George has been leading the back line all season and had one of her best performances during the Edina match. She recorded over 25 digs that match and stopped Edina's best hitter from recording too many kills against New Life.
"We have had our leaders and captains stepping up all season and it's great to see," Bomgren said. "We've also had some younger girls step up into positions and it's made our team stronger and our confidence higher."
That confidence needs to be shown on Thursday, Oct. 31, as No. 2 seed New Life Academy hosts No. 3 seed Legacy Christian for the section semifinals match. The match will take place at 7 p.m. at New Life Academy with the winner heading to the section finals on Saturday, Nov. 2, at noon at Bloomington Kennedy High School.
The Eagles have played Legacy during the regular season and New Life won that match 3-1, but Bomgren knows both teams have developed since that last match up.
"Legacy has a great volleyball program over there and I know their players will be ready to play us," Bomgren said. "We just have to play our game and focus on one set and one point at a time."
The last time these two teams squared off was on Friday, Sept. 27, at New Life Academy. The Eagles won the first set 25-19, but Legacy came right back to tie the game with a 25-20 second set win.
New Life dominated the last two sets and won 25-13 and 25-10 to win 3-1 over Legacy during the regular season.
"Every team knows that we've been to state the last couple of seasons," Bomgren said. "So we have a target on our backs, but we just have to focus on ourselves and our teammates to win one match at a time."