Polar League All-Stars meet in Barnum
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Sometimes volleyball isn’t just about the statistics, the scores or any numbers at all.
Before a packed Bomber gymnasium, some of the best volleyball players in the Northland showed off their talents, as they dazzled fans in the annual Polar League All-Star match last Monday night at Barnum High School.
“It was a blast,” said Barnum head coach Corina Newman, who helped organize the annual event. “It’s just a great night for everyone – the girls, coaches, Polar League – everyone always has a ball out here.”
The white team prevailed 4-1 (25-20, 24-26, 25-11, 25-13, 15-10) over the black, but the numbers were never a concern.
“The score didn’t matter,” said Newman who, along with Moose Lake-Willow River coach Michael Edmond, directed the black squad. “It’s just about having a fun night.”
As Newman and Edmond coached the black squad, Esko coach Desiree DeLeon and Wrenshall coach Denise North called the shots for the girls in white.
“For most of these girls, it’s the last volleyball they’ll ever play, so to put them on the other side of the net from their teammates really makes it a ball and that’s what matters most,” Newman said.
Between games, a number of skills competitions were held with prizes on the line. Taking home the service title was Cook County’s Brea Boomer, while ML-WR’s Sheenagh Caroline captured the passing crown. Esko’s Keely Deadrick was setting champ and both Katrina Newman of Barnum and Cook County’s Christina Nelson tied for the top spot in the kills contest.
“Things ran so smooth,” said Corina Newman. “Girls were hitting, passing and digging balls all over the place. These are, no doubt, some of the best players around. The fans definitely got their money’s worth tonight when they walked into the gym.”
The annual event has moved around from different Polar League venues over the handful of years it’s been in existence, and is always supported by the whole conference. Of the 11 coaches in the Polar League, 10 of them participated Monday night as scorekeepers, judges or announcers.
“Everyone always helps putting on this event,” said Newman. “We all just come together for a good time. This really is a wonderful event held by the conference every year and a lot of the girls won’t ever forget it.”
Along with Boomer and Deadrick, the triumphant white team included: Kim Larva, Alissa Autio and Brea Durovec of Floodwood, Alyssa Bergstedt and Kayla Handevidt from Esko, Samantha Parker and Jenna Zmyslony of Barnum, Ari Korpela from Cromwell-Wright, Casey Pierce of McGregor and Two Harbors’ Abby Ray.
To aid Katrina Newman, Caroline and Nelson, black team members included: Carly Puch and Essa Jacobsen of Cook County, RaeAnn Odegaard and Ashley Collman from Cromwell-Wright, Tayler Carpenter of Carlton, Caitlyn LaFontaine from Wrenshall, Kristin Sandstrom of Silver Bay, Esko’s Alyson Glumac and Barnum’s Jessica Newman.
“These girls really do know it all,” said Newman. “They know what’s wrong and what’s right. They’re all stars. You can’t coach them. All you can do is to tell them go out there and have a fun time playing the sport they love; and that’s just what happened Monday night.”