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Volleyball: Irish roll at Faribault Invite

When it comes to weekend tournaments, the third time was the charm for the Rosemount volleyball team.

After first-round losses led to consolation championships earlier this season at the Farmington and Cannon Falls Invitationals, the Irish broke through with a 4-0 day and a tournament championship Saturday at Nomeland Gym in Faribault.

The Irish closed out the tournament with a 10-3 run that gave them a 15-8 victory in the third set of their championship match against Faribault. The Falcons had won the tournament three years in a row.

"It was a great confidence builder heading into the playoffs," Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. "Right now I think we are playing pretty well and peaking at the right time of the season."

The Irish (16-10) opened the tournament with a 25-18, 25-12 sweep of Triton. Katie Duff paced the offense with eight kills and Haley Zweber led the defense with 16 digs and 10 serve receptions.

Erin Slinde carried the team through to the finals by slamming 11 kills in 14 attempts in a 25-9, 25-11 sweep of Waseca and 11 more kills as the Irish rallied past Mankato West 21-25, 25-20, 15-5 in the semifinals.

Rosemount opened the finals match with a 26-24 win before Faribault forced a decisive third game with a 25-16 decision in Game 2.

The Irish close out the regular season with a South Suburban Conference match against Prior Lake. The winner will capture sixth place in the league standings.

The Section 3AA tournament begins next week.