Volleyball: Thunder thump Rockford 3-0, roll into semifinals

Amber Meleen put up a set for Thunder teammate Brooke Borchardt. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)


The Zimmerman Thunder are two wins from a state tournament trip in volleyball after beating the Rockford Rockets 3-0 Tuesday night.

After a slow start, the Thunder found their groove and rolled to a 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 victory at home in the Section 5AA quarterfinals.

The sweep was punctuated by four straight aces by Bailey Bircher-Keymes for the final points. The Thunder had 16 in the match.

The hosts trailed 9-2 before Nikki O’Keefe go them started with an ace. O’Keefe would finish with four aces, five kills and and 12 digs.

Brooke Borchardt delivered nine kills, five kill blocks, six digs and four aces. Amanda MeleenĀ  set up 17 kills and served three aces. Cassie Ortbeg hd three kills and seven digs. Amber Magnuson notched two kills, two digs and a kill block. Gabby Antolak had two kills and two kill blocks.

Rockford, led by outside hitters Ellen Paatela and Jordan Weeding, and libero Nikki Freidlein, finished 7-19.

The No. 2 seeded Thunder (20-7) will host No. 3 St. Anthony Village (18-6-1) in the semifinals Thursday at 7 p.m. The other semifinal will have No. 4 Breck (13-5) at No. 1 Maple Lake (17-11). The finals will be held at Rockford on Saturday, 7 p.m.