11 a.m. — Byron vs. Glencoe-Silver Lake
Byron coach Owen Hoegh is excited about the upcoming year and it's difficult to blame him. The Bears return a veteran setter in Allison Connelly and a strong front row that should come up big on both the attack and the block. And we mean big, as in 6-foot-5 middle Ayoka Lee along with Hailey Bahr and Lilly DeCook.
Glencoe-Silver Lake is always a tough and scrappy team under coach Murf Schwirtz and this year looks no different. The Panthers should have strong net play with returning starters such as setter Lexi Hansch and hitters Kasidy Cacka and Rhyan Hermann.
Our pick: Glencoe-Silver Lake in five.
1 p.m. — Cannon Falls vs. Elk River
Cannon Falls was inexperienced last year and started out slow en route to a 13-17 campaign. That should change for the Bombers, as those players are all now veterans. All-State libero Tatum Pickar will make sure nothing hits the floor and feed setter Kara Loeschke, who has hitting options galore.
Elk River also has a tough group returning for coach Theresa Brummer. The Elks have good height and an experienced passer in libero Erin Davis. Setter Kincaid Strain returns, as do her hitting options such as OH Haley Ullrich and Sarah Johnson in the middle.
Our pick: Elk River in five.
3 p.m. — Rochester Mayo vs. SW Christian
Every year, coach Deb Frederick has Rochester Mayo in contention for a state berth and the Spartans could be again, despite graduation losses. Setter Lexie Lang is a multi-year starter who will stabilize the offense, while senior libero Hallie Olson will do the same to the defense. MH Jade Boysen should be a big factor, as well.
Southwest Christian is another program that was building with a young lineup last year — and a tough move up to Class AA. Still, the Stars won 17 matches and now look like a favorite in Section 2AA. The Stars are balanced offensively with four returning hitters who had triple-digit kills in seniors Anna Sperbeck and Brooke Herman, junior Brenna Krommendyk, and sophomore Mackenzie Close.
Our pick: Rochester Mayo in five.
5 p.m. — St. Michael-Albertville vs. Centennial
St. Michael-Albertville coach Michelle Chen laments the loss of five top seniors from last year, but feels her team has the strength and depth to be competitive in Section 5AAA again. We don't argue with that assessment, not with a talented libero (Zoee Miller) and setter (Lexie Nelson) returning along with 200-kill hitter Syra Tanchin and others.
Centennial will have a fresh look with just two returning starters from a 19-win team, so tough early season matches will be a good tool for coach Jackie Rehbein-Manthey to evaluate the newcomers. Sophomore OH Molly Perzichilli had 109 kills as a freshman and will come up big.
Our pick: STMA in four.
7 p.m. — Jordan vs. North Branch
Jordan graduated just three players from a 12-16 team, so the Jaguars should be on the rise. Coach Mary Bright does have one of the top middles in the state as an anchor, in senior Meg Schmidt, who had more than 250 kills, 200 digs, and 100 blocks as a junior. Junior Carsyn Mizsak also hit triple figures in both kills and digs from her OH position.
North Branch started slowly with a very young team last year, but surged at the end and nearly returned to the state tournament. Sophomore OH Cianna Selbitschka is already a star (424 kills and 372 digs last year) and will only get better. The Vikings graduated just one player, so the team will also improve.
Our pick: North Branch in five.
|School Name||Conference||Sect||Overall Record||Coach|
|Byron||Hiawatha Valley||1AA||20-10||Owen Hoegh|
|Cannon Falls||Hiawatha Valley||1AA||13-17||Melissa Huseth|
|Centennial||Northwest Suburban||4AAA||19-12||Jackie Rehbein-Manthey|
|Elk River||Northwest Suburban||7AAA||16-12||Theresa Brummer|
|Glencoe-Silver Lake||Wright County West||2AA||22-9||Lori "Murf" Schwirtz|
|Jordan||Minnesota River||2AA||12-16||Mary Bright|
|North Branch||Mississippi 8||7AA||13-16||Mike Selbitschka|
|Rochester Mayo||Big 9||1AAA||21-8||Deb Frederick|
|Southwest Christian||MCAA||2AA||17-14||Greg Sayuk|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Mississippi 8||5AAA||18-12||Michelle Chen|
|Byron||Ayoka Lee||MH||6'5||12||basketball at Kansas State|
|Cannon Falls||Grace Hall||OH||5'6||12|
|Cannon Falls||Kara Loeschke||S||5'6||12|
|Cannon Falls||Molly Bowen||OH||5'6||11|
|Cannon Falls||Tatum Pickar||LI||5'3||12||Class AA All-State|
|Elk River||Erin Davis||LI||5'9||12|
|Elk River||Haley Ullrich||OH||6'1||12|
|Elk River||Kincaid Strain||S||5'11||12|
|Elk River||Sarah Johnson||MH||6'1||11|
|Glencoe-Silver Lake||Kasidy Cacka||OH||5'10||11|
|Glencoe-Silver Lake||Lexi Hansch||S||5'5||12|
|Glencoe-Silver Lake||Rhyan Herrmann||MH||5'8||11|
|Jordan||Meg Schmidt||OH/MB/RH||6'2||12||Class AA All-State HM|
|North Branch||Cianna Selbitschka||OH||5'9||10|
|North Branch||Lydia Langevin||MH||5'10||11|
|North Branch||Maddie Hadrava||MH||5'9||12|
|North Branch||Sophie Linder||LI||5'3||12|
|Rochester Mayo||Hallie Olson||LI||5'5||12|
|Rochester Mayo||Jade Boysen||MH||5'11||12|
|Rochester Mayo||Lexie Lang||S||5'8||12|
|Southwest Christian||Anna Sperbeck||OH||5'9||12|
|Southwest Christian||Brenna Krommendyk||MH||5'11||11|
|Southwest Christian||Brooke Herman||OH||5'8||12|
|Southwest Christian||Mackenzie Close||MH||5'11||10|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Alia Dorland||OH||5'8||12|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Evie Harrington||MH/MB||5'11||11|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Grace Mauersberger||RH||6'0||12|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Lexie Nelson||S||5'8||12|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Samantha Palmer||OH||5'7||10|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Syra Tanchin||OH/MB||6'1||11|
|St. Michael-Albertville||Zoee Miller||LI||5'3||12|
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