Blaze volleyball red hot heading into playoffs

Burnsville edges out Lakeville South 3-1

The Burnsville volleyball team survived a scrappy, young Lakeville South squad on Tuesday night, pulling away at the end with a 3-1 victory.

The Cougars made the Blaze work for the victory. South led most of the fourth game before Burnsville rallied.

“I think we played well, but we didn’t play our best,” head coach Kim Fritz said. “We had our moments, but we second-guessed ourselves and made too many errors.”

Still, it was a welcome victory after falling to Eagan 3-0 on Oct. 4. The girls lost the third game 35-33.

“The first two games (against Eagan), we didn’t play too well,” Fritz said. “I think the girls came out to prove to themselves tonight. They moved the ball well and played well defensively.”

The Eagan match was the first time the Blaze was swept since the season opener against Chaska. In all of its other losses, the Blaze won at least one set.

The Blaze was one of the rare teams to take a set against No. 1-ranked Lakeville North. Even though Burnsville dropped the Sept. 20 match 3-1, the Blaze was given a victory after the Panthers forfeited. Lakeville North violated Bylaw 502 in the Minnesota State High School League rule book.

A player who participated in North’s junior varsity and varsity matches went in to serve after Burnsville forced a fourth set. She had already played two sets of junior varsity and three on varsity that day, and five is the maximum allowed per day by the high school league. The Panthers reported the infraction to the MSHSL immediately following the match.

With one conference match left on the schedule Tuesday at Bloomington Kennedy, the Blaze has a chance to finish as one of the top teams in the South Suburban Conference with Eagan and Lakeville North.

“It’s exciting,” Fritz said. “It’s a good pressure. The girls don’t look at it as anything but exciting. It sets us up well for sections. We know who we’ll have to face. Our goal is section finals. Our short-term goal is to get there.”

The Section 3AAA playoffs begin Oct. 23.

First, the girls have one more weekend tournament at the October Classic at Apple Valley beginning Friday. They will see several good outstate teams such as Minneota, Wabasha-Kellogg and Kasson-Mantorville, along with Chanhassen, Edina, Hibbing, Jordan, Winona, Osseo and Maple Grove.

“I think every match is a ramp-up to the playoffs,” Fritz said. “We have some plays were looking to try, but we just want to play that quick, fast game.”