Marshall comes out as top Tigers in state championship | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo by Jake McNeill: The Marshall volleyball team storms the court after the Tigers swept Delano in the Class 3A state championship at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night.

ST. PAUL — While the start of Saturday night’s Class 3A championship was delayed, the results were not. The Marshall volleyball team took down Delano in straight sets at the Xcel Energy Center to capture their third consecutive state title and state-record ninth in program history.

The battle of the tournament’s two top seeds lived up to the hype in the first set with nine ties and three lead changes.

All-state outside hitter Brielle Riess went down with an ankle injury early in the frame but returned to play in the set’s final points. In her absence, the rest of the team stepped up. Right-side hitter Morgan Bjella had six of her nine kills in the first set while freshman Laurel Ryks got a kill in her first state tournament appearance.

Delano kept the set closer throughout, cutting their six-point deficit down to just one point, 23-22, before a kill by Mackenzie Olsen and a Delano attacking error gave Marshall a 25-22 win.

Any drama built up in the first set faded fast in the second. Delano grabbed a 3-1 run before a 9-0 Marshall run shifted all momentum. Riess got four kills during a span of five points during the run.

Marshall led by as many as 9 points in the frame and Delano never recovered, falling 25-13 as Marshall captured a 2-0 lead.

The third set started out like a battle. Up until Marshall took a 10-8 lead on a Delano hitting error, neither team had led by more than a point since Delano led 2-0.

From there, however, the Marshall Tigers took off. Trailing 11-10, Marshall rattled off nine unanswered points, five of which came from Riess kills. Delano was never able to get any closer than three points from there as Marshall captured a 25-19 win.

Riess finished the night with a match-high 18 kills while Bjella added nine on .276 hitting with five total blocks. Olsen also added another four for the Tigers.

Brooke Gillingham had 37 assists in the match while Kennedy Drake had 18 digs.

Gillingham, Riess and Bjella were all named to the Class 3A All-Tournament team.

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