Volleyball Roundup Sept. 6, 2012A look at area volleyball teams with a special focus on the Carlton Bulldogs, who have not played in their own gymnasium since this summer's flooding.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Hannah Benson loves volleyball so much she talks about the new Carlton High School gymnasium floor much like she would a painting.
“The wood is multicolored; there’s a big bulldog in the middle, and Carlton is written down both sides,” said the 14-year-old freshman setter. “It looks good. Everyone is excited to get on it.”
“The game plan is to be back on it tomorrow,” added longtime Bulldogs Coach Barb Soukkala Monday. “It looks really nice.”
As does Carlton. Practicing at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College for the first three weeks as their gym floor was being replaced from the epic June flood, the Polar League Bulldogs have been hard at work. Soukkala said at the end of practice is when it gets most intense.
“They play for bragging rights and all girls are yelling, talking and cheering for each other,” said Soukkala, who has been coaching in the program since 1977 and brought teams to state in 2003 and 2004. “All of them are competitive kids. And they’ve played a lot of
Benson said from sand courts, gym floors and Junior Olympic tournaments over the spring and summer, she and many of her teammates stayed active. She’s one of a handful of returnees who doesn’t even have her driver’s license yet. Yet, that’s not a concern.
“We’re young, so it’s a challenge to play those junior and senior teams,” Benson said. “We’re confident. And we think we can win.”
Carlton opens at rival Barnum Thursday and hosts Silver Bay in their home opener
“If coach called us at midnight and had practice, we would all be there; we love to play,” Benson continued. “It will be nice to have brand new floor. Hopefully it will be a good start to a great season.”
Barnum lost all three of its matches on the road at Rush City, Cloquet and Tuesday at Onamia. Winning their first set Tuesday, MJ Anderson had seven kills, while Lauren Hultgren tossed 17 set assists.
Cloquet beat Barnum last Thursday, yet the Lumberjacks fell in their opener at Duluth East and at Grand Rapids Tuesday. Alex Oakes led with five kills and nine digs against the Thunderhawks in the sweep.
Cromwell-Wright avenged their lone loss to Hill City with a home win over Mountain Iron-Buhl Tuesday. Brittany Johnson had seven kills, Allie Cahoon 12 set assists and Christina Stenson 14 digs in the 3-1 win for the Cardinals, which also swept their season opener at Northeast Range.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe will open this season’s campaign Sept. 11 when they welcome the Red Storm to Cloquet. Coach Dale Sautbine, who began the tribal program in 1983, enters his 29th season coaching the Ogichidaa.
Moose Lake-Willow River has split their pair of home matches thus far, sweeping Hinckley-Finlayson in their opener while falling 3-1 against East Central last Thursday in Moose Lake. In their win over the Jaguars, Joelene Eaton paced the Rebels with six kills and five ace serves.
FDLTCC began its season against Central Lakes College Wednesday evening as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press. The freshmen-filled Thunder will next welcome
Vermilion Sept. 11 in a match that had to be rescheduled due to the lack of players for the Ironwomen.