One of the strongest relationships in volleyball is between a setter and a hitter.
That does not come as a surprise to Caledonia High School seniors Adrianna Reinhart and Madisyn Heaney, who have formed a tremendously strong partnership.
The two Warriors veterans have helped lead Caledonia to the MSHSL Class A state tournament, but they want one more visit.
In order to get there, they realize they have to keep working on the fundamentals at every practice, in every set, in every match.
“There’s a certain level of fundamentals that is required to win state,” Caledonia coach Scott Koepke said. “There’s a level of mental toughness to win state. And, you learn that your skills in all facets of the game have to be so good.”
The state tournament is a long way off, and the Warriors realize it takes a strong regular season to put the proper fundamentals in place to have a shot at making a deep postseason run. Nothing is guaranteed, nothing happens without a lot of hard work both physically and mentally. It also takes trust and chemistry.
Heaney and Reinhart, who have been best friends for a long time, have that chemistry and it shows on the court.
Reinhart knows where Heaney wants the ball placed, and when that connection is crystal clear, there’s little stopping them.
So far this season, Heaney has 74 kills, which leads the Warriors. Lydia Lange is second with 65 on a team that has recorded a combined 287 kills.
Caledonia has 274 assists — Reinhart, who is in her fifth year playing for the Warriors, has 235 of those.
“We understand each other on the court,” said Heaney, who recorded 284 kills last season. “It’s a lot of fun when we’re on the same page.”
Before their careers started, Heaney and Reinhart were student managers under Koepke. They handled water duties and helped out in practice as much as possible.
“They’re both intensely-driven kids that really want great things and spend a lot time in the gym,” Koepke said. “They were always in a good mood, smiles on their faces. They’ve always loved volleyball.”
Last year, the Warriors advanced to the Class A state championship match, but lost to Mayer Lutheran. It is something they have not forgotten.
“It gives us a more of a drive,” Heaney said. “We got a taste of it and if we go back next year, we’ll be ready.”
That foundation is there, and so is the drive to push themselves against some of the best competition in the area and beyond.
The Warriors have lost twice this season, and both losses came at a very competitive Apple Valley Tournament over the weekend.
Minnesota state powers Stewartville and Mounds View defeated Caledonia in three-set matches. In both matches, the Warriors won both of the opening sets, but lost the last two sets.
The Warriors were at match point against Stewartville, but couldn’t seal the deal.
Stewartville is ranked No. 2 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in Class AA, while the Warriors are pegged No. 3 in Class A behind Mayer Lutheran and Hayfield.
The goal remains to return to state, and thanks in part to Heaney and Reinhart, the Warriors are focused on doing just that.
Caledonia's next match is at Wasbasha-Kellogg at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. The Warriors also play in the W-K tournament on Saturday.