Sophia Rondeau

Senior outside hitter Sophia Rondeau sends a ball over the net for a kill against the Wildcats. Big Lake beat Chisago Lakes in straight sets (27-25, 25-19, 25-18), Thursday, Oct. 7.

It has been a dream season for Big Lake volleyball. After beating undefeated Chisago Lakes, Big Lake is tied for first place in the Mississippi 8. It would be the first conference title of any kind since 2001 should the Hornets hang on.

The first set was a battle between the Hornets and the Wildcats. Chisago Lakes took a brief 3-2 lead, but the Hornets then took a 4-3 lead. Neither team was able to get much of an advantage, with the Hornets taking a 24-20 lead, but the Wildcats battled back to tie the first set at 24. Big Lake took a 25-24 lead, but Chisago Lakes tied it once again at 25, but the Hornets finished the Wildcats off 27-25 to take the first set.

After the match, Brust said they really focused on the mental part of the game after the first set. Mistakes happen, but they didn’t let that defeat them as they showed their mental fortitude and didn’t drop a set the entire match, despite trailing in a couple different sets.

The second set started off as a battle with the Hornets needing a bit of a comeback. Big Lake held a lead of 3-0, but Chisago Lakes battled back to tie the set at 5-5. From there they were able to take a 10-6 lead, but Big Lake came back to tie the set once again 12-12. From there the Hornets jumped in front again, and finished off the Wildcats 25-19.

The Wildcats seemed to lose their fight early in the third set with Big Lake jumping out to a 10-3 lead. The Wildcats got as close as 13-8 and 17-14, but the Hornets finished them off at that point. They went on a run and won the match taking the third and final set, 25-18.

It was a great match and Big Lake did a great job communicating and staying focused. “In September I felt like our schedule was a little weaker so they weren’t pushed as hard. Tuesday (Oct. 5) we played Hutchinson, they’re ranked in state, they’re a good team and we were right with them. We lost in three, but we lost by two points every time and we had a lot of talk about being resilient. Having a little bit of grit as they play through and they showed that tonight,” said Head Coach Alisha Brust.

“They show it all the time. They don’t give up until the end, but tonight was good. They came back in one and three against a team that was undefeated in the conference and I’m really proud of them,” Brust added.

Big Lake plays with a lot of that grit and they continue to make good choices on offense and everybody feels valued on the team. They have played a lot better this year than in recent years when things break down and they have to play out of system.

The Mississippi 8 is headed down to the wire. Big Lake (12-5, 5-1 Mississippi 8) and Monticello (14-5, 5-1 Mississippi 8) share the conference lead over North Branch (18-7, 5-2) and Chisago Lakes (9-7, 4-1). Big Lake has one last conference match against North Branch on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Monticello plays Chisago Lakes on Thursday for their last conference match.

Hornets talk about leaving a legacy, and capturing at least a share of the conference title for the first time in 20 years would leave a legacy this team and these seniors can be proud of.

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