Hayfield Finally Defeats Bethlehem Academy in Volleyball Playoffs
Hayfield has seen its volleyball season end at the hands of Bethlehem Academy six of the past seven years. The Vikings turned the tables on the top-ranked Cardinals on Thursday.
Hayfield won the Section 1A West Subsection title at the Mayo Civic 18-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-23 over Bethlehem Academy. The Vikings (24-5) play Caledonia on Saturday at 1PM for the section crown. Hayfield has never gone to the state tournament. The Warriors swept Mabel-Canton in the East Subsection final.
Faribault Bethlehem Academy jumped ahead to open the match, but Hayfield rallied from an early deficit to tie the set at 17-17 only to endure an 8-1 run. Cardinals senior Payton Nutter had about 10 kills in the first game and ended the night with nearly 30.
Hayfield went ahead early in the second set and led most of the way. They picked up big kills from Mattie Streightif and Carrie Rutledge. The Vikings played balls deep all night, causing the Cardinals to scrammble to return the ball and had trouble running their offense. Bethlehem Academy struggled to set up their block against Hayfield, who has a wealth of strong attackers.
Bethlehem Academy led 5-1 in the third set. After the teams traded a few points, Hayfield went on a 6-2 run and didn't trail the rest of the set. In the fourth set, the Vikings grabbed a 7-3 advantage. Bethlehem Academy eventually went ahead briefly at 20-19 before Hayfield surged to the subsection title.
Since 2002, Bethlehem Academy (21-8) has gone to state 12 times, winning seven state titles and taking second place the other five times. In addition to Nutter, seniors for the Cardinals include Breanna DeGrood, Shelby Meyer, Keely Skluzacek, Kallie Donahue and Kelsey Novak.
In Section 1AA, Plaineview-Elgin-Millville swept St. Charles and Kasson-Mantorville outlasted Stewartville in five sets to reach Saturday's final. In Section 1AAA, it will be an all-Lakeville championship match. South swept Farmington and North beat Big Nine champ Century 3-1 on Thursday. All three Section 1 championships are Saturday at Mayo Civic Center.