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Volleyball: Irish swept in section final

Second-ranked Eagan knocked off Rosemount and third-ranked Lakeville North on its way to the Section 3AAA title last week.

The Irish’s 22-9 season came to an end with a 16-25, 15-25, 14-25 loss to the Wildcats in the semifinals last Tuesday in Prior Lake. Eagan led Game 1 by a narrow 15-14 margin before closing with a nine-point run.

“I thought we would play them a bit tougher than we did. We had a great warm-up and started the match strong. We were playing with confidence and every point was a good battle with both teams working to earn points,” Rosemount coach Smokey Vitek said. “Then we had several hitting errors in a row and then we lost confidence.… To beat Eagan we needed everybody playing great and playing together. I think we were a little nervous and tight.”

Those nerves may have led to some of the hitting errors that allowed the Wildcats to take an early lead in Game 2.

“Our hitting was tentative and against a strong opponent like Eagan tentative hitting will not get too many points,” Vitek said. “It also made it easy for Eagan to run its offense pretty effectively.”

Brittany McLean led Rosemount with nine kills, which gave her a program single-season record of 358. The sophomore is also second all-time in kills for the Irish.

Erin Slinde had 13 set assists and three ace serves, giving her 45 aces for the season. That ranks second in program history.

Brittany Morrison once again led the defense with 11 digs, giving her a season total of 402 that ranks as the third-best single season total for the Irish. Morrison is also third on the all-time list.

Front row players Ellie Vraa and Justine Buckmister finished the season with 68 and 67 block assists, which ranks them second and third, respectively, on the all-time single season list.

These individual accomplishments helped the Irish excel as a team. They won 22 games, placed fourth in the South Suburban Conference and earned a No. 3 section seed, all bests for the program going back 20 years.

“They had a great season and I am extremely proud of all of them,” Vitek said.