|10/29/2021 2:30:00 PM|
AREA SECTION VOLLEYBALL PREVIEWS
With the newly created fourth class in volleyball in 2021, there are a lot of opportunities for area teams to make a splash this year.
Chisago Lakes, which was always stuck in the bottom half of a nasty Section 7AAA bracket with the likes of Blaine, Forest Lake, Andover and Anoka, remains in Class AAA while the big schools left for Class AAAA.
That left the Wildcats without any teams in their section, so they were placed in one this year, Section 4AAA. Despite only a 12-9 record on the season and losing five of their last six matches, CL earned the top spot in a light section.
Mahtomedi is the second seed with a 10-10 record.
Hill-Murray is the third seed with a 10-14 record, and the Wildcats beat the Pioneers 3-1 earlier this season.
Chisago Lakes also won their other three section match ups in the regular season, sweeping fourth-seeded St. Anthony Village just a week ago, and winning 3-0 over fifth-seeded Como Park and seventh-seeded Harding in the first weeks of the season.
With the top seed, Chisago Lakes earned a bye and will face the winner of St. Anthony and Como Park on Monday, November 1 at 7 p.m. at Chisago Lakes High School. The ‘Cats will always have homecourt advantage with the top seed, as well. There won’t be a neutral site championship game due to the reduction in travel with COVID concerns.
The section championship game would be played on Thursday, November 4, and if CL is in it, they would be the home team.
The Vikings actually got some bigger schools in their section with the class shuffling. They had been in Class AA before, but with the expansion to four classes, Class AAA made much more sense for them.
They’ll play in the more typical northern-based section with Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Hibbing, Cloquet, Duluth Denfeld and Princeton.
The section features four teams with impressive records. Grand Rapids is the top seed with an 18-9 record, Cloquet is the second seed with a 20-6 record, Hermantown is third with a 20-7 mark and North Branch is fourth with an 18-9 record.
But, the seeding in this section is a bit peculiar. North Branch features the same record as top seed Grand Rapids and also swept the Thunderhawks earlier this season, 25-21, 26-25 and 25-23.
In fact, North Branch was unbeaten in section play during the regular season, sweeping fifth-seeded and first round opponent Princeton and seventh-seeded Duluth Denfeld.
If the Vikings can beat Princeton in the first round, which will be played Friday, October 29 at North Branch at 6 p.m., then they would travel to Grand Rapids for a showdown with the Thunderhawks on Wednesday, November 3 at 6 p.m.
Any potential section championship game will essentially be an away game for North Branch if they were to make it that far. The section final is slated to take place on Saturday, November 6 in Cloquet. The bottom half of the bracket featured Cloquet, Denfeld, Hermantown and Hibbing, which are all much closer in proximity to Cloquet than NB is.