CALEDONIA — The first timeout for Caledonia High School volleyball coach Scott Koepke didn’t work, but the second one in the opening set was a calming one.
The Warriors, who are ranked No. 3 in the Class A Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll, received several significant challenges from Winona on Thursday night. Caledonia, however, withstood each of them in beating the Winhawks, 25-19, 25-19, 25-15, in its season-opener.
Koepke took his first timeout with the Winhawks leading 15-12 in the opening set. Not much changed in terms of the score after the initial timeout, so Koepke burned his second timeout of the set with the Warriors trailing 17-14.
“We were just excited to get out (on the court),” Caledonia senior Adrianna Reinhart said. “I don’t think it was nerves or anything. We needed to calm down and get in a groove. We just needed to tell ourselves to get the next pass or get the ball in.”
That’s where the turnaround happened.
The Warriors tied the opening set with an assisted block by Lydia Lange and Katie Tornstrom. Then, the Warriors took the lead with a Tornstrom kill, assisted by Isabel Allen. Tornstrom was a key force as she recorded three aces while Madisyn Heaneyand Allen each had two.
“We had scrimmaged Winona on Tuesday, so we were familiar with what they did,” Koepke said. “In volleyball, you have to talk, and you have to move. We were moving a lot, but thought we needed to communicate a little better.”
Reinhart set the tone in the third set. While she’s known for her role as a setter, she led off the final set with consecutive aces to put Caledonia in control. The Warriors led from start to finish in the final set, and their biggest lead came at the final score.
The Warriors ended the third set on a 7-0 run that included Tornstrom and Reinhart combining for a block that gave the team control, and the match fittingly ended when Reinhart found Madisyn Heaney for a kill. Allen led the Warriors (1-0) with 12 kills and Heaney followed with 10 assists. Reinhart was busy setting up the offense as she finished with 39 assists.
“We just need to come ready to practice every single day,” Reinhart said. “We need to be focused.”