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Volleyball: Rival ends season for Irish

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After the Rosemount volleyball team swept Henry Sibley in the opening round of the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament, the Irish immediately knew what was ahead of them.

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Rosemount next had to face No. 1 seed -- and No. 2 ranked -- Eastview in the section quarterfinal. It was quite the prize for beating Henry Sibley.

Most teams wouldn't have been too excited to play the Lightning.

While the Irish couldn't be described as excited, they were interested to see how they would match up with Eastview again.

Rosemount coach Kristin Helgeson thought the Irish had played one of their better matches in an earlier loss to the Lightning.

For some reason -- as far as the top teams in the state go -- Helgeson liked the way Rosemount matched up with Eastview.

"I think part of it is the nothing-to-lose mentality," Helgeson said. "We played hard against them. I think also because one of their strengths is they have a lot of great players. However, they don't have that one player that just killed us, that one player that can just take over. They are just a really solid all-around team. For some reason, we were able to play well against them."

Unfortunately for Helgeson and the Irish, playing well against Eastview is a strictly relative term. Some teams can leave a match against the Lightning feeling good, but the results are often the same.

The Irish played Eastview to another close match, losing 3-0 again, this time by scores of 25-12, 25-11 and 27-25.

Earlier this season, the game scores were 25-23, 25-17 and 25-21.

"We did just that," Helgeson said of another solid effort against Eastview. "It was the kids. They played a great match. We were proud of the way we played a tough team. We held our own against them."

The downfall for the Irish might have been the passing.

"We did not serve receive very well the first couple of games," Helgeson said. "The third game we played great. The kids never quit. It was a solid match. It was fun, and it got down to the wire."

Unable to get the passing to work, Rosemount was unable to get its offense on a roll.

Paige Petersen and Jordan Hinkle each had six kills in the match.

Hinkle added eight digs and two service aces.

Petersen equaled the effort with eight digs.

Alicia Rautio received extensive time and finished with 11 digs and two service aces.

As Rosemount had done at the end of the season, the team's defense was solid.

Laura Budinger, who was one of the reasons for the defensive turnaround, finished with 20 digs to go with 23 serve receptions.

In particular, game three this time around proved the Irish weren't quite ready to go home yet.

"We might have even got them a bit frazzled in that third game," Helgeson said. "It was tight one. We played intense. Had we played like that all year, we would have won more games. Our team got better as the season progressed. It's just kind of a bummer we had to get hit with Eastview. They're tough."

Which led to a different feeling walking off the court for the final time for the Irish.

They were disappointed in the loss, but there were positives to take from the match.

"The girls were definitely emotional, bummed the season was over," Helgeson said. "But, we were happy with how the season went. We had good team chemistry and we played intense that last match. It was a great way to go out.

"Minus losing to Eastview, everything else, we won our first match decisively. We played intense against Eastview. It was a great way to end in terms of the playoffs."

Eastview advanced to play Burnsville in the semifinals. Lakeville North and Lakeville South meet on the other side of the semifinal bracket.

Rosemount beat Henry Sibley 25-18, 25-21, and 25-19 last week in a home match between the No. 8 seeded Irish and No. 9 seed Sibley.

The higher seeds have won throughout the entire section playoffs.

Eastview holds the top seed, while Lakeville North is seeded No. 2.

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