October 14, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.
The Wildcats football team won the two team's annual meeting, both Wildcat soccer teams won, the CL girls tennis team swept North Branch and the cross country teams didn't face off until this week.
But, inside, on the volleyball courts, North Branch owned Chisago Lakes last week in a dominating 3-0 sweep.
The first set was back-and-forth, and Chisago Lakes actually held a considerable lead late in the set, but North Branch stormed back and stayed within striking distance until the end. The Vikings used some effective serving, and it proved to be the difference, as they prevailed in the first set 26-24.
In the second set, North Branch raced out to an early lead, and never really looked back, as Chisago Lakes never threatened them with any significant rallies. The Vikings came away with a 25-18 win in the second set.
In the third, and what would prove to be final set, Chisago Lakes again held a decent lead midway through the match, but North Branch's Rachel Barg and Taylor Fertig were just too much for Chisago Lakes.
North Branch stormed back late in the set, and took control, not relenting until they won the set 25-23, and finished off the sweep for the first North Branch victory over Chisago Lakes of the 2010-11 school year.
"Coming into Chisago Lakes, we really wanted to establish our offense and play consistent throughout the entire match," Head Coach Kari Francis said. "This was a big match for us since they are a conference and section opponent. We did what we intended by playing consistent, and we were able to pull out the win."
In other news for both teams:
Elk River 3, North Branch 0
The Vikings dropped a key regional game against Elk River last week. "Coming in, we knew we needed to play consistent and stay focused the entire match to give ourselves a chance," Francis explained. "We had our chance in game two, with the score tied at 23-23, but we fell flat, letting them take the game 25-23, and we just didn't recover after that."
North Branch 2, Hinckley Finlayson 0
The Vikings cruised past the Jaguars in the first round of the Mora Tournament over the weekend. They kept them at bay with punishing kills and intimidating blocks. The Jags were overmatched from the beginning when they took the court against North Branch.
North Branch 2, Pierz 1
After dropping the first set 25-21, North Branch came back on a mean streak, clobbering Pierz over the next two sets en route to their second victory on the day.
After the loss, North Branch evened the match at one with a 25-18 victory in the second set. With the match on the line because they were only playing best two out of three, North Branch beat Pierz 15-4 in the third and final set to stay undefeated on the day.
Mora 2, North Branch 0
The host Mustangs dropped North Branch for their only loss on the day, beating them by indentical 25-17, 25-17 scores in a disappointing loss.
North Branch 2, Hudson 1
The Vikings showed their resilience again, this time dropping the first set to Hudson (WI) before rallying to win the next two. They lost 25-19 in the firest set, but then evened it up with a 25- 21 win in the second set.
Although they didn't dominated in the third set quite like they did against Pierz, the Vikings still took care of business, winning 15-11 and finishing 3-1 on the day.
"This tournament showed us how we can gut out a long two weeks and find a way to win," Francis explained. "I was very proud f how the girls responded against Hudson in the third place game after losing the first game. They came together and found a way to win.
Upcoming games for North Branch include their Dig Pink event against Forest Lake on Monday, Oct. 18, which is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Following that will be the conclusion to the regular season, a home match against conference opponent St. Louis Park.
Above, junior setter Abby Carlson lunges for a ball against North Branch last week. Below, Rachel Swanson tries to spike a ball through the defense of Taylor Fertig and Jessica Lemmerman.