STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) – Three years felt like an eternity in Stewartville. The legendary volleyball program had gone more than 1,000 days without a trip to the state tournament.
But that all ended on Saturday, when senior Kaitlyn Prondzinski delivered the final blow of the top-ranked Tigers’ 3-1 win over fourth-ranked Kasson-Mantorville.
“I wanted that so bad. After I hit the ball, I just fell over,” said Prondzinksi. “So much joy and excitement. We worked all year for that game, and to get to state, so it feels amazing. It still hasn’t hit me yet, but best feeling ever.”
Special players make special plays, and that’s exactly what Prondzinski, nick-named Prondo, did on Saturday — ending both the third and fourth sets to send the Tigers to state for the first time since 2015.
“Prondo is just like ‘Give me the ball. I’m going to put it away. I’m going to score for us, right here,” said Stewartville’s Hall of Fame Head Coach John Dzubay.
And that’s exactly what she did. The senior star plays with passion, flair, and a little bit of sass, but Dzubay says it’s something else that sets Prondzinski apart.
“I’ve coached a lot of players. I’ve never had anybody that can hit as hard as she does,” he said. “I mean she is scary. Her strength right now is just powerful. She can hit the ball hard.”
Prondzinski last made state as an 8th grader playing her first year on varsity. After missing state her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, the senior is ready to end this season with an exclamation point.
“I want it to end with a bang this year. This is the team to do it. We’ve worked so hard this year: offseason, in the summer, in practice,” she said. “This team deserves it. We deserve it this year.”
“She’s just going to be a force at the state tournament,” Dzubay said. “I’m confident she’s going to have a great tournament and help us do what we can do.”
Kaitlyn Prondzinski of the Stewartville Tigers Volleyball Team is this week’s KTTC Athlete of the Week.