Area Volleyball Roundup: Esko eases by Barnum

At 6-foot-5, Molly Trapp stands as the tallest volleyball player in the area, but the Esko senior was quick to say the biggest part of her squad's success starts as an entire team.

At 6-foot-5, Molly Trapp stands as the tallest volleyball player in the area, but the Esko senior was quick to say the biggest part of her squad’s success starts as an entire team.

Teamed by Trapp’s match-high seven kills and a laundry list of contributors, that certainly was the case when the Eskomos eased by host Barnum 25-21, 25-9, 25-21 in a Polar League prep volleyball match sweep last Thursday.

Controlling the net like usual, Trapp was aided by junior Karinne Houser and sophomore Judy Wagemaker’s 13-combined blocks, while junior Mary Pelletier added four ace serves in a match with tight opening and closing sets, but one where Esko (3-1) earned advantage regularly.

In perhaps the most impressive display of depth and athleticism within a team of multi-sport athletes, Esko’s everyday defensive specialist, junior CJ Stoyanoff, had 20 set assists, filling in for setter Gianna Jubie who was ill.

“Everybody just plays whatever spot that needs to be filled,” said Trapp, who is committed to play volleyball at Division I South Dakota State next fall. “We’ve been working hard and just do whatever is best for the team.”


That team has been impressive early this season, with wins over Hermantown, Hibbing and Barnum. Tuesday’s 25-23, 23-25, 16-25, 26-24, 10-15 five-set loss to visiting Virginia was their first setback, despite 19 kills coming via Trapp and 12 from Houser to back Jubie’s 44 set assists.

Win or lose, Trapp - one of just two seniors, along with Michaela Rust - said the young team is working hard each day during practice, and she’s filling her blue water bottle often.

“They love to play and compete,” said Esko Coach Desiree DeLeon, crediting her team this week. “I think they all enjoy volleyball and that’s why they work so hard.”

“And having a lot of fun while doing it,” Wagemaker added. “We all seem to click and get along very well.”

Trapp agreed, noting that togetherness will be pivotal.

“I honestly think we can go far,” she said confidently of her team. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time.”

At times, Barnum (0-6) played well with Esko, but has yet to put it together under first-year Coach Rebekah Lund.

Lund, whose team was swept 25-23, 25-21, 25-18 by East Central Tuesday, said her youthful squad is improving slowly, after graduating all of its starters from a season ago.


“We’re getting better every day,” Lund said after their match with Esko. “We hung with them for two games.”


Carlton (4-0) carded a 25-9, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19 non-conference victory over Northeast Range Monday in Babbitt. Although Northeast Range dropped its first set of the season, Carlton maintained its perfect record.

Cromwell-Wright (3-2) worked past Lakeview Christian Academy 25-17, 25-8, 25-14 Tuesday and cruised to a non-conference road win in Duluth, marking their third consecutive victory and remaining unbeaten in September.

Fond du Lac Ojibwe (1-1) overwhelmed Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School 25-14, 25-13, 25-13 Tuesday in Cloquet, as the Ogichidaa avenged a five-set, season-opening defeat at Lac Courte Oreilles last Thursday.

South Ridge (3-1) rolled past Polar League host Floodwood 25-11, 25-12, 25-22 Monday in their first road test, as the Panthers produced their second straight conference sweep.


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