The best way to fight a late surge of snow is to simply play indoors.
That's exactly what 15 surrounding area volleyball teams did on April 20-21 at the Sleepy Eye Junior Olympics volleyball tournament at St. Mary's School.
The six Sleepy Eye teams consisted of girls from St. Mary's, Sleepy Eye Public, New Ulm Public, MVL and Comfrey. All teams were placed into different age groups to compete.
Teams first competed in pool play matches in their age groups, which were two sets to 21 points each. Then the top two teams from each pool advanced to the gold playoff bracket. The bottom two advanced to the silver bracket. This kept the teams fair and exciting to watch. Playoff matches were best of three sets, and played to 25 points each.
On Saturday, Sleepy Eye's team for ages 12 and under advanced all the way to the championship match in the gold bracket. The final match was versus the St. Clair Cyclones. The first set was a close one, with back-to-back points going toward each team. After a 12-12 tie, the Cyclones stepped up their game and took the lead for the rest of the set, and eventually won 25-17.
Sleepy Eye had a strong start to the second set. They took the lead all the way up until a few errors led them to an exciting tie with the Cyclones at 25-25. In volleyball, it's win by two points and in this case, St. Clair's more dominant serving game won them the points they needed to take the second set. The Cyclones won 28-26. Sleepy Eye was awarded second place in the age group.
"We fought hard. The whole day they played their hearts out," Coach Alisa Heiderscheidt said. "They have nothing to hang their heads about, they definitely fought till the end and I'm proud of them."
On Sunday, the 17 and 18-year-olds played and the Sleepy Eye team also made it to the championship game in the gold bracket along with Fairfax Topspin. Both teams were about equal in the start of the first set, and many points were hard fought rallies. But Topspin eventually pulled ahead and won 25-15 after they scored four unanswered points. Topspin's great ball placement was too much for Sleepy Eye to handle.
The second set started out hopeful for Sleepy Eye, who took the first three points, but Topspin took the lead shortly after and didn't let go of it. Sleepy Eye wasn't able to execute on spiking and Topspin scored seven points in a row in the middle of the set. They won 25-12.
A third and final gold bracket championship match was played in the evening between Sleepy Eye and Topspin for the 15 and 16-year-olds.
Page 2 of 2 - The first set was a strange one. Topspin won the first 12 points in a row, followed by Sleepy Eye winning seven in a row of their own. Sleepy Eye tried to hold on to their comeback but too many errors cost them the first set, and they lost 16-25.
The second set was similar to the first. Topspin had a dominant lead throughout and won 25-11.
LeAnn Domeier was in charge of the event and it was her fourth year as Club Director. Domeier also coached the 15 and 16-year-old Sleepy Eye team and was a referee for a few matches as well. She said although the weekend was a chaotic one for her, it was successful nonetheless.
"I think it went pretty well, I don't think we had too many issues," Domeier said. "It went fast."