Friday afternoon

The New Life Academy Eagles finished their girls volleyball season as they were swept 3-0 to Mayer-Lutheran High School on Friday afternoon. Mayer-Lutheran was upset in the first round of the state tournament and were ranked No. 2 in the tournament.

In the first set, Mayer-Lutheran showed why it was the No. 2 seed as the Eagles lost 25-13.

The second set was tight the majority of the time until Mayer-Lutheran took a small lead, which led to New Life losing the second set 25-19 and facing a 2-0 deficit.

The third set was similar to the second set as New Life couldn’t hold the lead at the end and Mayer-Lutheran won 25-17 to complete the sweep.

It was a great season for the Eagles as they finished 19-10 in regular season and dominated their section tournament. New Life was able to reach the state tournament in back-to-back seasons and the Eagles will look again next season to try and make it three straight seasons.

Thursday afternoon

It was all smiles and laughs before the match as the New Life Academy girls volleyball team made their way onto the court at the Xcel Energy Center for the state tournament.

A handful of players on the team knew what to expect since the Eagles were in this same position last year. They knew it was going to be tough no matter the opponent and, most importantly, they knew to enjoy every second because it goes by so fast.

The Eagles made sure to enjoy the first match of the state tournament, but the result didn't fall in New Life's direction as Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa swept the Eagles 3-0 on Thursday afternoon.

"One thing I said was to focus on the game, focus on the team," said senior Bethany Breiholz. "Tune everything out around you and focus on your team and playing for God."

The first set was a lot of adjusting for New Life as they were getting used to the atmosphere, the court and their surroundings knowing what type of stage they were competing on.

The New Life girls were trailing 10-4 early in the first set and that deficit continued to increase for the Eagles as the score went to 22-11. Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa eventually won the first set with a 25-12 final score, but the momentum carried into the second set.

"So one thing I kept saying not only to myself, but to the people around me was it's the same court, the net is the same height," said senior Kate Rogers. "Everything is the same, except the people and the area around us."

The Eagles were down 9-4 in the second set, but tried to make a small comeback as New Life closed the gap to make it a 17-15 deficit. Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa took a timeout and regrouped, which is all they needed to keep the lead.

Eventually, Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa won the second set 25-20 to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The conversation that took place in between the second and third sets in the match caused New Life to have a small spark to start the third.

The Eagles went on a 7-0 run to start the third set and were determined to win the third set and keep that pressure on Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa. The only problem is that Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa is known to battle back and did just that in the third set as the Eagles trailed 14-12 midway through the third.

Belgrade-Brookner-Elrosa eventually won the third set 25-15 to complete the 3-0 sweep against New Life Academy. It wasn't what the Eagles were hoping for, but they did enjoy the entire day and were honored to play against the best teams in the state.

"Even though we just lost, it's a great thrill to be here and it's a major victory for any team to get here," said head coach Wally Bomgren. "To be in the final eight and it's really gratifying and we're going to look ahead to tomorrow."

Even though the Eagles lost in the first round, their season isn't done as they play at least one more game on Friday, Nov. 9. New Life will take on Mayer Lutheran on Friday at 3 p.m. in the consolation bracket at the Xcel Energy Center.

If the Eagles won on Friday, they would play at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 for the consolation championship. If New Life loses on Friday, its season would come to an end.