Owatonna, Rochester Mayo to Battle in Highly Anticipated Volleyball, Football Matches This Week
A Big Nine volleyball showdown looms Tuesday, Sept. 22 at the Owatonna High School gym. The same schools meet in a crucial Red Division game Friday, Sept. 25, at the Mayo football field.
Owatonna and Rochester Mayo volleyball have dominated the Big Nine Conference over the past eight years. Mayo is the two-time defending champ. Owatonna won the previous three titles and five over the past eight years. Mayo was a preseason favorite to repeat by bringing back most of the their lineup from last season. A win over Faribault Bethlehem Academy was a solid statement recently. However the Spartans (12-2, 2-1) lost to Northfield on Sept. 15, opening up the door for other contenders. Owatonna (8-5, 3-0) is the only team without a conference loss. The Huskies handed Rochester Century their first loss of the season last week.
The Huskies and Spartans have also controlled Section 1AAA in recent years. Mayo has won the last two crowns. Owatonna and Mayo have combined to win seven of the past eight titles. That trend faces a serious threat this year with the addition of No. 3-ranked Lakeville South and traditional power Lakeville North to the section.
Tuesday's match between Owatonna and Mayo at the OHS gym begins around 7PM on Kat Kountry 105FM and on the RadioPup app. Mayo has won the last three meetings with Owatonna, which includes a section match in 2013.
Friday's football clash between the Huskies and Spartans is a battle for the lead in the Red Division of the Big Southeast District. Each team is 2-0 in the division and 4-1 overall. Each team's loss is to Mankato West. Mayo seems to have a tougher balance of the schedule in the final two weeks. They face John Marshall (3-2) and Northfield (2-3) while the Huskies still face New Prague (0-5) and Century (0-5).
The Spartans are led by running back Greg Henry, who burned Owatonna for some big numbers in last season's two meetings. Owatonna's Sam Hylle set a school rushing record in last week's win over Austin. The Huskies are also developing some young talent at wide receiver.
Friday night's game could also determine the top seed in Section 1-5A. Last year's champ Faribault moved out of the section for this year. Owatonna won the title in 2012 and 2013. The Huskies and Spartans have met in the playoffs in five of the past six years. Friday's game will be heard on AM 1390 KRFO and on the RadioPup app.
The Tuesday, Sept. 22, local sports schedule also includes OHS girls' tennis hosting Albert Lea, boys' soccer home against Winona and girls' soccer at the Winhawks.
Local volleyball includes NRHEG at Blooming Prairie, Medford at Tri-City United, Goodhue at Triton and WEM at Faribault Bethlehem Academy, which will be carried live on Power 96 radio.