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Volleyball: Eagles advance to section semifinals

A thrilling victory for New Life Academy has advanced them to the Class 2A, Section 4 semifinals this week.

The tournament’s sixth-seeded Eagles traveled to third-seeded St. Paul Central on Friday and won in straight sets. Despite being the lower seed, the Eagles started the match with a 25-12 win in the first set. They followed that by winning 25-22 in the second set before wrapping up the match 25-23 in the third.

Senior middle hitter Hannah Nelson had 19 kills to lead the New Life Academy offense. Head coach Wally Bomgren said she was efficient in the playoff match.

“She was pretty much unstoppable,” Bomgren said. “She didn’t get blocked, and she just kept the other team on their toes with all different kinds of shots. I have to hand it to her. If I were to give somebody a game ball it certainly would have gone to her for that match.”

Sophomore Kate Rogers also had 11 kills for New Life Academy.

The Eagles will get a rematch with Hill-Murray after the Pioneers knocked them out of the section tournament last season. Hill-Murray defeated the Eagles in a five-set match, and they have been looking forward to facing them again ever since.

“They knocked us out in the section finals last year, it’s just a great rematch for us,” Bomgren said. “It’s a good rivalry for us at this point.”

Both New Life Academy and Hill-Murray have graduated a lot of seniors since last year’s match. Hill-Murray went 13-11 in the regular season, and the Eagles had a chance to see them play at a mutual tournament both teams were at earlier this season.

“They are good ball handlers,” Bomgren said. “They are a disciplined team, but they certainly aren’t as powerful as last year.”

New Life Academy and Hill-Murray will play in the section semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hill-Murray School. The winner will play in the section championship match at 8 p.m. Thursday at Kennedy High School in Bloomington.