Royalton, Holdingford also take part in the annual tournament that is last action before playoffs begin
By Tyler Ohmann
Before playoffs began on Oct. 24, there was one more test for area teams at the Upsala-hosted tournament.
The Cardinals, along with Royalton and Holdingford, participated with other teams from around the state.
Upsala played their way to a runner-up finish, losing only to champion Melrose along the way.
In pool play the Cardinals won both of their matches to put themselves into the hunt for a title.
Upsala topped St. Cloud Apollo 2-1, and PACT Charter School 2-0 to advance.
Once in the championship pool, the Cardinals beat Onamia 2-0, then fell to Melrose.
Senior Danica Cheney led the way for Upsala with 33 kills and 31 digs on the day.
Other strong performers were Cassie Smieja, who had seven blocks, 21 kills; Kristin Wuebkers with 81 set-assists and five aces and Brooke Westrich, who finished with 23 kills, 23 digs and five aces.
Holdingford performed well too as it prepared for its section match up against Little Falls.
The Huskers finished in sixth place, as they took down Maranatha and Walker-Hackensack 2-0 each.
They lost 0-2 to Onamia though, which dropped them into the fourth place pool.
In that pool, the Huskers were edged in both matches 2-1 by Apollo and Bertha-Hewitt.
Kaitlyn Hellman had 30 kills, four aces and three blocks in the tournament.
Courtney Thielen also played well with 31 kills and 38 digs. Emily Ruprecht added 43 digs and 20 kills.
Holdingford was without junior leader Summer Storm.
Royalton finished in seventh place as it came on late.
The Royals began strong with a 2-0 win over Milaca, 25-19, 25-16.
From there though, they lost to eventual-champion Melrose 1-1 via less points in the tiebreaker.
Bertha-Hewitt then topped them 25-12, 25-22 to force them into the seventh place pool.
In that pool, the Royals found success in both of their matches.
The Royals dominated Walker-Hackensack 25-13, 25-17 to move on to win.
Then they earned a narrow victory over PACT in three sets.
The scores were 25-23, 17-25 and 15-13.