Volleyball roundup: Cloquet serves past RebelsCloquet senior Abbie Anderson was lethal from the end line Tuesday evening, as she and her Lumberjack teammates served past Moose Lake-Willow River 3-1 (25-27, 25-11, 25-22, 25-8) on Parents Night at Cloquet High School.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET – Cloquet senior Abbie Anderson was lethal from the end line Tuesday evening, as she and her Lumberjack teammates served past Moose Lake-Willow River 3-1 (25-27, 25-11, 25-22, 25-8) on Parents Night at Cloquet High School.
Following an opening set lapse, Cloquet adjusted – and the Rebels’ defense did not – to a shorter-than-normal serving scheme en route to taking the momentum and earning their fifth win of the fall. Anderson, a 5-foot-7 outside hitter, finished with a team-leading three of the Lumberjacks’ nine ace serves on the evening and was near perfection serving during a lengthy stretch of points in the night’s closing set.
“We could have played better, but I think our serving strategy picked us up,” said Anderson, in her second year on varsity. “[Short serves] are hard to defend. We kept serving it short and they couldn’t pick them up.”
Ninth-year Cloquet Coach Heidi Anderson, who graduated from Barnum and played competitively in college, explained serving was vital against an upcoming Rebels team that fought back to win a tight first game.
“Moose Lake came out with a lot of energy and we didn’t match it,” Anderson said. “We responded well in the second and served smart. We work a lot of zones during practice and the girls did a good job of mixing up their serves tonight. We kept Moose Lake on their toes.”
Neutralizing ML-WR’s offensive attack with their serve accuracy, Cloquet (5-4) cruised late, led by multiple kills from Kristie Wappes, Olivia Mayasich, Chandler Beaupre and Sami Westendorf to back Alex Oakes’ match-leading 32 set assists. Abbie Anderson also had 10 digs.
“I just think [Abbie] is good at serving,” said classmate Wappes, who had a match-best 13 kills. “It was a little discouraging to lose that first one, but I knew that we could come back. We served well.”
“They knew we couldn’t pick them up,” added Rebels’ senior setter Miranda Jacobson. “Then, if the pass isn’t there, the set is off and it’s just a chain reaction. Sometimes then, we just all get mad at each other.”
Inconsistency hampered the Rebels on last season’s four-win squad. This year, ML-WR (4-4) has already equaled that total, plus they were runner-up at last weekend’s Pine City Tournament.
“Last year was a struggle, but we definitely have new attitudes this season,” said second-year Rebels Coach Beckie Jackson. “[Pine City] was awesome and I think it’s huge to fight with Cloquet and take a game from them. There are times we struggle, but we’ve had our moments, too.”
Jacobson ran the ML-WR offense with 11 set assists Tuesday, while Chloe Maloney, Joelene Eaton and Jodi Michalski all had multiple kills.
Both teams play again Thursday. ML-WR will head to Polar League nemesis McGregor, while Cloquet will begin Lake Superior Conference play at league foe Superior.
“That’s our first conference game of the year,” Heidi Anderson said. “[Superior] won it last year; they’ll be ready. We’ll have to serve well.”
Barnum (0-4) remains winless this season, having fallen to Rush City, Cloquet, Onamia and recently in their home opener against Polar League rival Carlton. Against the Bulldogs, Sage Miletich posted 12 digs, Lauren Hultgren had 11 set assists and Kelsey Wickstrom added five kills.
Carlton (2-0) has yet to lose, earning road wins over Barnum last Thursday and Northeast Range Monday. Macy Belich led with eight kills in their sweep of the Bombers, while Belich and Grace Macor had nine kills to back Hannah Benson’s 12 set assists against the Nighthawks.
Cromwell-Wright (3-2) snapped back-to-back wins against Mountain Iron-Buhl and Two Harbors with a 3-1 loss at South Ridge Tuesday. The Panthers' Justice Janke led with 16 kills, while Mikayla Olesiak made 14 digs and Callie Thomason collected 26 set assists against the Cardinals.
Esko (3-1) has won three consecutive affairs, sweeping Wrenshall, Cook County and recently Virginia Tuesday night on the road. Amanda Belden had 10 kills in her return, while Nikki Mitchell and Hailey Salo each had nine to go along with Courtney Johnston’s 30 set assists for the Eskomos. Esko hasn’t lost a set since the team opened at Hermantown.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (1-0) won their season opener 3-2 in a back-and-fourth affair against the Red Storm Tuesday in Cloquet. According to Coach Dale Sautbine, in his 29th season, FDL finished the night with 29 ace serves and 14 kills as a team. Samantha LaDeaux, Sara Fineday, Faryn Wilson, Jaelisa Northrup, Shana Peacock and Skye Blacketter all contributed statistically in the Ogichidaa’s victory, Sautbine said.
Wrenshall (3-2) won their second straight match and moved over .500 with a 3-1 victory over Lakeview Christian Academy Tuesday night at Wrenshall. Tatum Swanson led the Wrens with 21 kills, 11 digs, seven ace serves and four blocks, while older sister Chloe collected 16 set assists and eight kills. Keeley Shae Dianoski also added 11 digs, while Kaitlyn Kelley had eight digs and Shanna Laveau added eight kills in the win.
FDLTCC (1-1) dropped their season opener to Central Lakes College last Wednesday, yet rebounded with a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Vermilion Tuesday on campus in Cloquet. Trailing 2-0, the freshmen-filled Thunder were guided by Kourtney Karppinen’s 25 kills, Marita Yellowhammer’s six blocks and Kaitlyn Psick’s 44 set assists, all school records. Dayna Elmer led with 16 digs, while fellow Cromwell-Wright nativ