Competitive Cloquet fights Hawks, falls short
HERMANTOWN – Things could have gone either way on Tuesday. Trading blow-for-blow, visiting Cloquet challenged favored Hermantown en route to a thrilling 3-2 (25-18, 13-25, 25-20, 20-25, 16-18) Lake Superior Conference defeat Tuesday night in Hermantown.
In a rematch of last year’s LSC title contest, the Lumberjacks took an early 2-1 lead, but let both the nail-biting fourth and fifth sets slip into a loss to their arch rivals.
Cloquet also fell by two points in the final set to the Hawks at Saturday’s Esko Invitational, where they placed fourth. Hermantown won the tournament, going unbeaten in all four of their matches.
Tuesday, Cloquet (15-11) was led by Alex Oakes’ 27 set assists and half a dozen kills, while seniors Maddie Kiehn and Emily Fossen added 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Sami Westendorf also posted 12 digs in defeat.
Flip-flopping Cardinals take care of Wrens
The Cardinals got to business quickly Tuesday night.
Led by their quick start, Cromwell-Wright took care of visiting Wrenshall for a 3-0 (25-9, 25-12, 25-15) Polar League sweep in Cromwell.
Middle hitter MaKayleigh Cahoon paced the flip-flopping
Cardinals (10-8), recording five ace serves and four kills in the win. Cahoon was also 22-for-23 serving, while setter Brianna House
distributed 11 set assists in the pounding.
Maria Burcar and Chloe Swanson paced winless Wrenshall
(0-15) with five and four kills, respectively.
The match closed the regular season schedules for both schools.
Esko places third, breezes past McGregor
Tuesday, the Eskomos looked like the league champs they are.
Rarely missing a beat, two-time Polar League champion Esko made quick work of visiting McGregor in a 3-0 (25-7, 25-10, 25-7) sweep of their conference foes at Lincoln School in Esko.
The Eskomos (22-4) closed their season with a perfect Polar League record for the second year in a row. They’ve now won 24 straight league matches, dating back to 2009.
Esko – which recently placed third at their Invitational Saturday, losing only to runners-up Greenway – was guided on Tuesday by senior Stephanie Bandelin’s 14 kills and 10 ace serves. Stephanie Miller also tossed 32 set assists in the rout, while Kallyn Knutson posted five digs and Megan Reuer added a pair of ace serves.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe marks two straight
Dale Sautbine said the Ogichidaa turned in one of their best matches ever on Tuesday.
Sautbine watched from the sidelines as his Fond du Lac Ojibwe volleyball squad swept visiting Maranatha Academy 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-12) in a non-conference meeting in Cloquet.
Led by their much-improved offensive attack, the Ogichidaa (6-7) piled up the aces and kills against the Superior-based Academy. It was the team’s second consecutive win, following a 3-1 victory at Red Lake last Thursday.
Tuesday, Francene LaDeaux led the Ogichidaa with six kills and four ace serves, while Shana Peacock added six kills in the sweep. Keeli Bennett also chipped in four kills and four aces, while according to Sautbine, Jordan White, Jaelisa Northrup, Natasha Reynolds and Racquel White all had multiple aces.
Bombers top Rebels in Polar League fight
The Bombers got the best of their biggest rivals.
Paced by their upgraded attack, Barnum snapped a previous two-match slide by dumping Moose Lake-Willow River 3-1 (25-12, 25-10, 24-26, 25-12) in a Polar League tussle Tuesday night in Moose Lake.
The Bombers (4-18) came out guns-blazing in the opening two sets, yet ML-WR (3-22) answered in the third, before Barnum closed things out late.
Pacing the Rebels – which placed seventh at the Esko Invitational Saturday, defeating Northwestern in their final match of the day – was Adri Jusczak and Olivia Bennett with five and four kills, respectively. ML-WR’s Miranda Jacobson also tallied eight set assists, while Haley Johnson posted seven digs.
Statistics weren’t immediately available for the Bombers. Both squads closed their regular season schedules with the conference affair.
FDLTCC drops three straight on home floor
CLOQUET – Playing at their friendly confines, things haven’t been so friendly.
Hosting a trio of Minnesota College Athletic Conference foes on their home floor last week, the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College volleyball team took three straight losses against Itasca last Wednesday, Northland Friday and Central Lakes Saturday.
The much-improved Thunder (3-20, 1-12 MCAC) has now lost five consecutive matches since their last victory at Vermilion on Oct. 5.
Last Wednesday was perhaps FDLTCC’s biggest surprise of the season, taking a set from Itasca in an entertaining 3-1 loss to the Vikings. In defeat, Rachel Sanda recorded 34 digs, Rita Aspinwall had 27 set assists and Holly Nelson boasted 10 kills. In what Coach Loran Wappes said was her best match of the year, Jenna Shanda had 20 digs, six kills and two blocks.