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September 25, 2017

9/7/2017 4:30:00 PM
Vikes extract revenge on Rapids, beat Forest Lake to move to 3-0

North Branch 3, Grand Rapids 1
Grand Rapids was a thorn in North Branch’s side last year, beating them twice in volleyball, including ending their season in sections.

So North Branch had this date circled on their calendar with Grand Rapids, and they made sure to finish strong.

They beat the Thunderhawks 25-23 in the first set before dropping a 25-15 second set. They made unforced errors in that set and gave Grand Rapids too many points, and it looked like it might be a long night despite the 1-1 score.

But, the Vikings quickly put that lost set behind them, winning the third set 25-23 to take a nice lead. In the fourth set, Cianna Selbitschka and company kept the Hawks guessing, and continually put down points that Grand Rapids couldn’t deal with, winning 25-19.

The win was a measure of revenge for the girls, but they have bigger goals this year, so it was just another bookmark in what hopes to be a long novel.
Selbitschka had 28 kills, three blocks and 21 digs on the night, Haley Hadrava had 37 assists, four aces and seven digs, and Madison Hadrava and Lydia Langevin combined for 10 kills and eight blocks on the night.

North Branch 3, Forest Lake 2
The Vikings took on familiar foe Forest Lake at the Rangers home gym in their last match before school started. It was a long five set match that had some high peaks and low valleys for North Branch.

They squeezed out the first set 27-25, holding of the hard-charging Rangers late, but then they rolled in the second set 25-17, which they hoped set the tone for a sweep of a vaunted Class AAA opponent.

But, of course, Forest Lake is talented and has a successful pedigree that didn’t allow them just to roll over. They dominated the third set en rout to a 25-20 win and then bested the Lady Vikes for a 25-22 win in the fourth set, evening the once one-sided match.

North Branch showed their resolve, though, beating the Rangers in the fifth set 15-9. It showed a lot of courage to put the two straight losses behind them and finish Forest Lake off despite the sprint-like atmosphere of a 15-point fifth set.

The Vikings were again led by Selbitschka, who put down another 28 kills and added 21 digs.

Madison Hadrave had nine kills and five blocks and Haley Hadrava had 42 assists and 10 digs. Libero Sophie Linder had 18 digs and five assists in a solid night of work.

The girls had a bit of a break while school started, but they’re back at it on Thursday, September 7 against Buffalo in their Mississippi 8 Conference opener.

The Bison have played a stiff schedule so far, but they are nonetheless 0-5 so far, so North Branch will need to pounce early and keep them down and confused.

After that, the Vikings take on longtime rival Cambridge-Isanti on Tuesday, September 12. The Bluejackets lost Division 1 signee Claire Sheehan and are 1-5 so far this year.

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P.O. Box 748 Lindstrom, MN 55045

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