11/1/2012 10:07:00 AM Vikes knock off five-time section champions
Emily Trunk had 38 assists in NB’s win over Andover.
By JEFF NORTON
The North Branch volleyball team finally ended the state tournament reign that the Andover Huskies had held over Section 7AAA for the last five years. Andover, who was the fifth seed, had advanced to play the fourth seeded Vikings and was sent packing early. North Branch, who was 19-7 on the year, started the match off hot. The Vikes won the first two sets to take an early lead, which was huge against the seasoned Huskies. Tayler Fertig and Courtney Selbitschka really carried the Vikings in the first two sets, pounding away at Andover. But, those two, along with the rest of the Vikes, began missing their spots in the third set. “We just didn’t keep the ball in the court in the third set,” Head Coach Hayley Lang said. “We made too many mistakes in a row and then it was too hard to come back from the deficit.” The Vikes lost the third set 25-23. The fourth set went much the same way, as Andover began to pressure North Branch’s hitters and the Vikings didn’t respond. Andover knotted the match at two sets apiece. “Although we lost those two sets, the kids were able to battle and create some momentum for the fifth set,” Lang noted. In the fifth set, North Branch’s conditioning really began to pay off as Andover looked tired and late to the ball. The girls were well prepared to take advantage of Andover mistakes, and finished the match off with a 15-12 win in the set. Fertig ended the game with 16 kills while Selbitschka had 14. Jessica Merchant and Annamarie Zack both had eight kills on the night. Emily Trunk added 28 assists on the night. Zack and Taylor Spence had four aces each. “Its mean so much to the kids to beat a big team like Andover. They have been very successful in their past seasons, and continue to be every year so it is a true testament to how hard our kids work throughout the season, and their ability to battle through long matches,” an emotional Lang said after they knocked off Andover. “When we lost to them earlier in the year we knew we had some kinks to work out, and we will continue to strive to improve on a daily basis and look forward to the next match. Our focus wasn't so much in knocking them off their state run, but for us to play with heart, leave it all on the court, and no matter what the outcome we were going to be happy. We played well and responded even better to our own mistakes to fix them and move to the next point.” The Vikings moved on to play the top-seeded Anoka Tornadoes in the section semi-finals. The fell 3-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Anoka. For a full recap of that game, check out next week’s County Press.