The Section 1AAA #5 seed and #9 state ranked Lakeville South Cougars defeated top seed and #2 state ranked Northfield in a five set thriller in the Raiders gym tonight.  Northfield ran away in the first set 25-10 with the Raiders student body in a frenzy.

The Cougars won the second and third sets by scores of 25-19, 25-23 to put the pressure on the hometown team to win two straight to advance to the Section final on Saturday in Rochester.

The Raiders did win Set 4 by a 25-21 score setting up the winner take all fifth set.  Northfield and Lakeville South fought to a 13-13 tie in a see-saw set with fans from both sides biting their nails.

The Cougars pulled out the fifth set 15-13 to advance to the Section 1AAA title match in Rochester Saturday where it will be an all Lakeville final with Lakeville North defeating Rochester John Marshall 3-1 in Lakeville in the other semifinal match.

Northfield was clicking in the first set with just 3 errors on my notebook.  Lakeville South didn't help themselves with 10 errors in the set.  Usually in volleyball the team with the most mistakes loses.

I say usually because Northfield only had 4 miscues in the second set and Lakeville South 9 errors yet strong serving got them that win.  The Cougars had 4 ace serves to the Raiders 1 in that set.

I've always believed in a 1-1 match the third set is crucial because the victor needs to win just one more set to capture the win.  The third set really could have gone either way.  There were some incredible plays by both teams in the set.

Raiders libero Emma Torstenson kicked the ball for a perfect pass to setter Lida King to set up a kill that should be on an ESPN highlight show.  There were repeated saves of balls on both sides of the net and some long volleys.

Both teams had just 4 errors in the third set to give you an indication of the high level of volleyball fans were treated to in the Northfield gym.

Set number 5 Lakeville South according to my unofficial statistics had 2 errors and Northfield 4 miscues.

In a fifth set efficiency is at a premium because every mistake is a point for the other team and the winner has to score just 15 points and win by two.

The Class 3A #2 ranked  Raiders end their season 28-2 with both losses to South Suburban teams.  Undefeated and #1 Eagan in a tournament was the only other loss.

Northfield junior outside hitter Megan Reilly tried to take the team on her back with 5 of her team's 9 kills in the fifth set.  I unofficially had her with 27 kills on the night.

Senior Bronwyn Timperly had 6 kills and 3 ace serves.

Class 3A #9 rated Lakeville South (18-13) had four players with double digit kills.  Senior middle hitter Emily Torborg and junior right side hitter Ava Moes each with 14 kills, senior outside hitter Payton Stier 13 kills and freshman outside hitter Emily Moes 10 kills.

Cougars junior setter Teagan Starkey had 51 assists, 17 digs.  Junior libero Payton Willman 26 digs.  Stier 18 digs and senior outside hitter Grace Carlson 10 digs.

Lakeville South officials statistics had them with 18 total blocks led by junior middle hitter Kendyl Storlie with 8.

Lakeville South will play #7 ranked Lakeville North (22-8) at 3:00 p.m. Saturday for the Section 1AAA crown and a berth into next week's State Volleyball Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.