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October 18, 2019

9/19/2019 3:05:00 PM
Sartell solves NB riddle, deals Vikes their first 'L'

North Branch Invitational
Hosting their annual invite, the North Branch volleyball team had some rude guests, as Sartell-St. Stephen stole a win from the Vikings, giving them their first loss on the year.

The Saturday, September 14 tournament started in the morning with a North Branch versus Esko match up. The Vikings breezed through that one, winning 25-15, 25-22 over the Eskomos.

They next took on section fodder Cloquet, and it was another lop-sided win for the Vikings. They took out the Lumberjacks 25-15, 25-15.

In their third match of pool play though, is when the Vikings ran into the talented Sartell-St. Stephen team who also hasn’t lost a game this year.

Although the Sabres are a Class AAA opponent that North Branch won’t see again this year, it was an absolute duel. North Branch won the first set 25-22 before the Sabres rallied to win the second set 25-21. They finished the comeback by beating NB 15-13 in the deciding third set.

It’s one North Branch definitely wished was a full five set match, and not the abbreviated three set tournament match, but the Sabres took advantage, dealing the Vikings their first loss of the year.

That loss placed the Vikings in the third place match against St. Francis, where they won 25-17 and 27-25 to sweep the spot.

Not only did they miss out on the championship game, but the Vikings also missed out on taking on another ranked opponent, as Class A power Carlton won their half of pool play and played Sartell in the first place match. Sartell won in three thrilling sets, but missing out on the match  up was definitely a disappointment for a North Branch team that has looked nearly unbeatable at times this year.

“Sartell was more effective on defense than us and controlled their side of the court better than us,” Head Coach Mike Selbitschka said after the match. “We just made too many errors with our attacks and serving. Our numbers were decent, we just were inefficient at the wrong times.”

Cianna Selbitschka had 46 kills in the four games, with 34 digs, three aces and three blocks. Haley Hadrava had 12 kills, 14 digs and 10 blocks. Reagan Irons added 15 kills, 14 digs and 10 blocks, and Paige Peaslee looked dominant at times from the middle hitter spot, with 16 kills and 11 blocks.

Paige Sheehan had 10 blocks, six kills, 15 digs and 91 assists on the day. Macy Brodin had 38 digs and three aces, and Kylie Kline had 16 digs and three aces.

“Having a loss like that hopefully turns the girls’ focus back to training to get better at the little things,” Coach Selbitschka explained. “We are looking forward to our conference run. Up to this point, we’ve played well, but I know we have more to come!”

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