Volleyball Roundup: Rebels wear down rival WrensMiranda Jacobson certainly wasn’t sleeping Tuesday night when she helped guide Moose Lake-Willow River to a 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 10-25, 25-15) victory over rival Wrenshall in a Polar League engagement in Wrenshall.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Not much keeps Miranda Jacobson off of the volleyball court. Not a bruise, nor a scrape, or even a left wrist she’s fractured several times.
Rather, the Moose Lake High School senior plays through the pain.
“I don’t like to tell people if I’m hurt, because I don’t want to miss volleyball,” said Jacobson, a 5-foot-4 sparkplug setter, who has been involved with her favorite sport since a youth when her mother coached. “I tape my wrists up and I dive a lot. I have a lot of battle wounds, but I guess I take pride in them. Volleyball is my life. I could play it in my sleep.”
Jacobson certainly wasn’t sleeping Tuesday night when she helped guide Moose Lake-Willow River to a 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 10-25, 25-15) victory over rival Wrenshall in a Polar League engagement in Wrenshall.
Jacobson finished with 17 set assists in organizing the Rebels’ offense, while defensively, she collected eight digs as the aggressive player she is.
“She’s tiny, but Miranda has made some incredible hustle plays,” said second-year ML-WR Coach Beckie Jackson. “She just goes, goes and goes. And I can count on that from her every day.”
Explaining she learned the sport by bumping the ball around during her mother’s practices when she was younger, Jacobson heightened her skills and, ultimately, developed the scrappiness she always plays with.
“I don’t like when the ball drops on our side,” said Jacobson, who plays Junior Olympics in the spring and hopes to play volleyball collegiately next fall. “Even if it’s not technically mine, I’ll go get it.”
That go-get-it attitude led ML-WR (7-13) to a pair of opening set wins Tuesday, while after a setback in the third, the Rebels closed out the Wrens in the final frame en route to snapping back-to-back losses.
Teammates Karina Cisar, Andrea Youngberg and Joelene Eaton all had six kills each, while Haley Johnson collected 15 digs and Nikki Grutkoski added six ace serves in a tightly-contested match.
Only their seventh win this fall, Jackson said Tuesday her Rebels let down a bit from their intensity in a recent five-set loss against Carlton.
“That Carlton match was amazing,” Jackson said. “I want to see that kind of play continue for us here. It was so good for our team to play like we did at this point of the season against a very good Carlton team.”
Not forgetting about the Wrens, Jackson praised their opponent’s efforts. Both teams will return to play Thursday, Wrenshall at home and ML-WR the road.
“I want to give them credit, they were so scrappy and never gave up,” Jackson said of nearby Wrenshall. “I really admire that about them.”
First-year Wrens Coach Andrea Ruth said that scrappiness, effort and commitment has grown immensely over the season, despite a nine-match losing streak.
Chloe Swanson led the Wrens (3-11) on Tuesday with 11 set assists and 12 digs, while younger sister Tatum collected eight kills and 11 digs. Delaney Kittel also posted 15 digs and Shanna Laveau added eight kills in defeat.
“They should be real proud of themselves. This was probably our best overall team game of the year. I made sure the girls knew that afterward,” Ruth said. “Even though we didn’t come out on the winning end, we played well, passed well, had a lot of digs and our serving is coming around.”
Just like Jacobson always comes around for the Rebels.
Barnum (3-16) hosted rival Esko Tuesday night but the Bombers were swept in a Polar League lashing. Barnum, which went winless at last weekend’s Braham Invitational, was led Tuesday by Sage Miletich’s seven digs defensively, as well as Daron Mainville and Alexis Kettlehut’s five combined ace serves in their team’s fourth straight defeat.
Carlton (18-6) continued their hot streak Tuesday with a quick home sweep of Polar League nemesis Cromwell-Wright. The Bulldogs, winners of three straight, went 3-1 and placed well last weekend’s Mora Invitational. Macy Belich and Clarissa Nelson combined for 20 kills and 23 digs to back Hannah Benson and Brianna Walton’s bundle of set assists.
Cloquet (12-9) coasted their way past Proctor in a swift Lake Superior Conference sweep Tuesday night on the road. En route to their sixth win in eight matches, including three consecutive, the Lumberjacks were fronted by Olivia Mayasich and Kristie Wappes’ 15 combined kills, as well as Alex Oakes’ 17 set assists and quartet of ace serves in victory.
Cromwell-Wright (9-5) crumbled and were swept by Polar League foe Carlton Tuesday evening. The league loss was just the second in the last three weeks for Cromwell-Wright, as they have been steered by Brittany Johnson, Ann Collman, Christina Stenson and Allie Cahoon, who left Tuesday’s match following a concussion.
Esko (13-7) eased past rival Barnum Tuesday night in a rapidly-paced Polar League sweep on the road. The Eskomos, temporarily tied for the league lead with Carlton, were directed by Amanda Belden and Michaela Rust’s 15 combined kills, as well as Courtney Johnston’s 25 set assists in Esko’s 33rd consecutive conference win.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (9-2) found the victory column again, as the Ogichidaa defeated Lac Courte Orielles 3-1 Tuesday evening in Cloquet. FDL, flying high with five straight wins, was paced by their barrage of 31 ace serves and multiple kills from Faryn Wilson, Jocelyn Sayers and Jaelisa Northrup, as the Ogichidaa haven’t lost in over two weeks.
FDLTCC (2-11) fell to their fifth straight loss in a sweeping defeat to Rainy River in a Minnesota College Athletic Conference match Monday night in International Falls. The Thunder, which has only beaten Vermilion twice, were led by Kourtney Karppinen’s 14 kills and seven digs. Marita Yellowhammer, MaKayleigh Cahoon and Candice Paulson also had multiple kills to back up Kaitlyn Psick’s 26 set assists.