Volleyball Roundup: Focus on Fond du Lac OjibweThe Fond du Lac Ojibwe volleyball team opened its season last Friday evening, find out how they did and other area volleyball teams too!
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Drewrez Budreau hadn’t played volleyball for several years when the Cloquet High School senior decided she wanted to return to the sport this fall, to play alongside her sister, Jasmin.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe School served her that opportunity.
Budreau and her teammates opened their season last Friday evening when the Ogichidaa lost 3-2 in a five-set opener against the visiting Red Storm in Cloquet.
Budreau was thrilled the tiny tribal program provided her a chance to play again, in agreement with Cloquet High School. On Tuesday, Budreau — who played volleyball for the Ogichidaa in seventh and eighth grade before giving it up — said she was glad she had returned.
“It’s nice to get back into volleyball,” said Budreau, a 5-foot-9 middle hitter. “And even though we lost our first game, I think we’re doing well. For the practices we’ve had, they’ve all been very organized and we’ve had a lot of girls coming.”
Longtime Coach Dale Sautbine, who helped originate the program in 1983, said 22 girls in grades 7-12 make up the roster, one the biggest turnouts in his 30 years.
Despite the graduation of standouts Shana Peacock and Jaelisa Northrup from last year’s 14-5 squad, Sautbine said this fall’s lineup is experienced with returnees Faryn Wilson, Kasey Shabaiash, Sara Fineday, Jocelyn Sayers and Naazhe Sutten, along with transfers like Des LaPointe and Budreau.
“They’re quick, eager to get everything and not afraid to go to the floor,” Sautbine said of his team, which hosts its next home match Friday against Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School then next Tuesday when they welcome rival Red Lake. “Last year was one of our best ever, but they’re hoping to do it again.”
Even if they don’t, Sautbine — who is joined by assistant coach Shawn Boyd and school athletic manager Earl Otis — said the tribal program is one he dearly enjoys.
“We’re really promoting team spirit on the court, off the court and in the classroom,” said Sautbine, also a long-time art teacher. “My position was almost cut recently, but I just keep my focus on teaching, and the girls. It means a lot.”
Now, with her sister on junior varsity, Budreau agreed.
“Playing with my sister every day at practice really makes me realize how much I missed this,” Budreau said. “I wish I would have done it sooner, but I’m just glad to be back.”
Barnum (2-2) bested rival Floodwood in a 3-2, five-set, Polar League win last Thursday on the road. MJ Anderson, Olivia Angell and Daron Mainville led the way to the Bombers’ second victory this fall.
Carlton (3-0) continued its unblemished streak, sweeping visiting Northeast Range 3-0 Monday. The Bulldogs, which haven’t lost a set, were paced by Grace Macor’s nine kills, while Macy Belich had eight to back Brianna Walton and Hannah Benson’s 15 set assists apiece.
Cloquet (3-1) cruised past Moose Lake-Willow River with a 3-0 sweep Tuesday in Moose Lake. Alex Oakes organized the attack with 14 set assists, while Sami Westendorf, who also had 10 digs, and Olivia Mayasich each had five kills in the Lumberjacks’ second straight victory.
Cromwell-Wright (1-4) was competitive with South Ridge in game one, but was swept 3-0 Tuesday in Cromwell. The Cards, assisted by Allie Cahoon’s three kills and Rachel Hutar’s six digs, have just one win.
Esko (3-0) edged visiting Virginia 3-1 Tuesday in a barn-burner. Christaia Houser’s 11 kills and Molly Trapp’s 10 kills combined with Courtney Johnston’s 33 set assists and six blocks for the win. Michaela Rust also added 11 digs to keep the Eskomos unbeaten throughout the early fall.
Moose Lake-Willow River (4-3) ran into its third-straight loss when clipped by Cloquet in a 3-0 sweep Tuesday in Moose Lake. Adri Jusczak’s six kills and Hayley Johnson’s nine digs led the Rebels.
South Ridge (3-1) remained hot with a 3-0 sweep of the Cardinals Tuesday in Cromwell. The Panthers, returning all starters, were jolted by Justice Janke’s 15 kills, Krystal Karppinen’s 10, Callie Thomason’s 32 set assists and 20 digs total by Mikayla Olesiak and Lindsey Janke.
Wrenshall (2-2) defeated Lakeview Christian Academy 3-1 at UWS. Chloe Swanson had 12 kills. Her sister, Tatum, added eight aces, and Delaney Kittel had 18 digs in the win.
FDLTCC (0-3) fell 3-0 to Rainy River, Hibbing and Vermilion thus far. The Thunder women are led by locals Jaelisa Northrup and MaKayleigh Cahoon.