Carlton Volleyball Ready to Make Some Noise at State Tournament

This is the Bulldogs' first trip to the state tournament since 2014.

CARLTON, Minn. – This past summer, the Carlton softball team advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history. Most of the girls on that team also play volleyball, and they’ve been able to carry over that success to another state tournament run.

The Bulldogs volleyball team are heading back to state for the first time since 2014. And with all these bus rides, it seems to make it easier on the nerves for the girls who know all about playing on the big stage.

“When you’re at the state tournament, there’s not as much pressure. It’s not just that you got there and it’s good enough. We obviously still want to win. But we really just want to take in the whole experience and just enjoy it,” outside hitter Alaina Bennett said.

“They’re pretty seasoned. One of the things we talked about at the beginning of the year is that they can’t use that as an excuse this year. Before it was “Oh they’re all freshman or they’re all sophomores.” This year, they’re juniors so that wasn’t an excuse that they were going to fall back on when they lost,” head coach Barb Soukkala said.

Carlton will be matched up against Ada-Borup High School, a team they are unfamiliar with. But it’s not about scouting their opponent, rather just focusing on what has got them this far and extending that 22-match winning streak.

“We’re a very scrappy team. Obviously, we don’t have so much height. But the two people, Ava [Grondahl] and Alaina [Bennett] are pretty tall and they do their job well blocking. Obviously, they’re going to get their kills and they’re going to get points on us, but we just have to come back ready to want to win the next one. It’s not about the point that just happened. It’s about the next one,” middle hitter Taylor Nelson said.

The match will take place this Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Categories: High School, Sports