Prep Dig Minnesota Preseason Top-10 rankings – Class 2A
Yesterday, we looked at the preseason top-10 teams in Class 3A. Today, we’re tackling the Class 2A rankings, but as we hinted at yesterday (okay, it was more than a hint), there’s a familiar team atop the rankings. With young…
Yesterday, we looked at the preseason top-10 teams in Class 3A. Today, we’re tackling the Class 2A rankings, but as we hinted at yesterday (okay, it was more than a hint), there’s a familiar team atop the rankings. With young lineups that came through last fall, Eagan in Class 3A, Maple Lake in Class 2A, and Mayer Lutheran in Class 1A are poised to further fill their trophy cases this year.
- Maple Lake — The defending champions return six of their top eight players, including towering setter/right-side hitter Amber Klug and powerful outside Linsey Rachel, both All-State winners. Coach Marty Kiebel has been building this program for years, and it’s paid off in spades the past few years. Expect the Irish to enjoy the “champion’s parade” through their schedule this year. They’ll be tough to beat for any program, let alone in Class 2A.
- Stewartville — Since 1981, the Tigers have made 23 state appearances in 36 years. We’re not ready to count them out, especially since their best players were underclassmen last year, including All-State libero Emily Rinken. Coach John Dzubay is the winningest coach in state history with almost 900 victories.
- Rocori — With Maple Lake in Section 6AA with them, the Spartans have a difficult path to state, but it’s one they could easily traverse. Rocori’s Eleanor Holthaus may be the state’s best — and most well-rounded players. She’ll be relied on early, as the Spartans did graduate much of their lineup from a 25-win team.
- Delano — The Tigers were a tough call, as they drop down from Class 3A after winning 17 matches last year. A perennially strong program, coach Becca Rue does have to replace some key graduates. Setter Brynn Heinonen will be counted on as a calming veteran influence as just a junior.
- Sauk Centre — Sinclair Lewis’ home town has churned out a ton of great female athletes in recent years, keeping the Mainstreeters in the top-10 rankings year after year. It’s up to seniors Kelsey Peschel and Kenzie Schmiesing to keep that tradition going.
- Marshall — The bullies of Class 2A return after a two-year purgatory in Class 3A. The Tigers had won 13 straight section titles in the middle class — including championships in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 — before being pushed up a class. Even though coach Dan Westby’s team lost 12 matches last year, don’t count it out as a threat.
- Totino-Grace — Graduation stole the two best players from last year’s .500 Eagles’ team, but we expect them to be even better this year. Coach Kayla Cole returns three of her primary passers and top setter Maddie Schaefer.
- Kasson-Mantorville — Junior Peyton Suess already holds the school’s career block record and is an imposing middle who can dominate on the attack as well. She’ll get the ball plenty from returning setter Abbey Bigelow.
- Southwest Christian — Ball control will be key for the Stars, who do return four strong hitters led by All-MCAA second-team picks Brooke Herman and Anna Sperbeck.
- North Branch — The Vikings were under .500 last year, but we expect them to make big strides with 11 returning letter winners, many of whom played key roles. Sophomore Cianna Selbitschka is developing into a six-rotation stud and senior middle Maddie Hadrava is a presence in the front row.
Honorable mention: Hill-Murray, Cannon Falls, Roseau, Concordia Academy, Jordan