Rockets take on tough Stars at state [UPDATED]Published 11:14am Wednesday, November 7, 2012 Updated 11:14am Wednesday, November 7, 2012
After being edged out last season in a close match up in Section 6A, the Underwood Rockets were able to capture the section title and advance to the Class A state tournament.
The Rockets etched their name onto the section trophy after sweeping past the Barnesville Trojans and claiming their 14th straight victory.
“There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’ve been working as a team to accomplish something and it happens,” Rockets coach Diane Ross said. “It’s euphoric,”
Underwood has not been to the state tournament since 2003, but has strong leadership from captains Brianna Fitzgibbons and Carly Masloski, along with the rest of the seniors. “This has been a coach’s dream year with the way the team has bonded, accepted each other’s qualities, and have sacrificed personal goals for the sake of the team,” Ross added.
Masloski and Tara Skauge both had milestones during the season as Masloski recorded over 1,000 kills in her career, while Skauge’s defensive prowess helped her secure 1,000 digs.
The Rockets will take on No. 4 (Class A) Southwest Christian Stars, who enter the game with a 23-10 record, but have played the cream of the crop in Class A and 2A this season. “They have a solid team and a good program. They are well coached and play very disciplined ball.”
The Stars bring a strong attack from the outside, but the Rockets defense has stepped up, setting the tone for the team over recent weeks.
The Underwood girls did not deviate from their practice routine in preparation for the tournament, but stressed improving their passing and serving. Ross emphasized that the first ball was very important to the success of the team.
Ross and her team are also getting plenty of fan support as the Underwood School district will reschedule Thursday and Friday’s classes to allow students, teachers, fans and community members to travel down to St. Paul to support the team.
“I’m just so happy for this team,” Ross said. “They get to compete to the end with the best teams in the state, not too many athletes get that opportunity.”
The Rockets will hit the court at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.