Fosston hadn't been to the volleyball state tournament since winning the Class 1A championship in 2004. Mounds Park Academy? Well, the Panthers had never been before.
The two teams battled back and forth in what turned out to be the most competitive Class 1A match Thursday, with Fosston pulling out a 22-25, 25-14, 22-25, 25-17, 15-9 victory.
Fosston coach Sarah Dryburgh said her team's resilience — it twice trailed by a set — sparked the victory.
"I'm really impressed and proud of the girls," she said. "Sometimes in a game, things aren't going your way. You've got to keep fighting and make them go your way."
The Greyhounds (29-6) came out playing somewhat tentatively, but Dryburgh implored her team to play its usual aggressive style, which paid off in the fourth and fifth sets.
"We were a little nervous, not really playing our game, going a little soft," Dryburgh said. "Down here, you have to go hard, make big plays and be more aggressive. And the girls did that as the match went on."
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 3, Henning 0: The Buccaneers talked about wanting to be the best defensive team in the state, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown coach Crystal Lamont said.
"And that's the mind-set we have," Lamont said. "Nothin's going to score on us, and we're going to do our best to make it as hard as possible for the other team to get a point."
The game plan worked as the No. 2-seeded Buccaneers swept Henning 25-11, 25-21, 25-18. The Buccaneers (33-2) had only one error in the first set, good enough for a .448 hitting percentage.
Junior outside hitter Toryn Richards, who led the way with 13 kills and 13 digs, said "We're such a scrappy team, we can always get a good kill off of one of those digs."
Senior Kylee Mesker recorded 15 digs for Henning (23-6-2), making its first state appearance.
Medford 3, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 0: Last year the Tigers came in unseeded and ended up as the Class 1A runners-up. Back for its second state trip, Medford lost five of the first six points.
"Coming back, it's still a lot of pressure coming in," coach Missy Underdahl said.
That pressure quickly subsided as the No. 3-seeded Tigers (25-8) coasted to a 25-22, 25-18, 25-10 quarterfinal victory.
Kinsey Cronin had a match-high 15 kills for the Tigers while Emma Kniefel had 12.
The Jaguars (23-9) started out the match hot and played well for the first two sets but "lost our cool'' in the third set, coach Steve Waddell said. "Our inexperience showed a little bit as the match progressed."
Minneota 3, Greenway 0: The top-seeded Vikings continued their quest for a second consecutive state title — and third overall — with a comfortable 25-22, 25-15, 25-19 victory over Greenway.
Abby Hennen had 18 kills for Minneota (31-3) and Natalee Rolbiecki added 17. McKenna Yost had 32 assists.
"Our nerves kind of got the best of us" in the first set, Minneota coach Hayley Fruin said. "But after that first set, we changed a few things and settled down."
With Yost delivering accurate sets in the middle and out to the pins, Greenway's block struggled.
Said Greenway coach Rhaya Tomberlin-Anderson, "It's hard to defend all of them."
Claire Vekich led Greenway (26-5) with 26 kills.