NB gets revenge on Rangers
It was a big week of volleyball for the Vikings, as they played six matches, picking up four wins along the way.
North Branch started the trek on a high note with a 3-1 win over Rogers at home on Tuesday, Sept. 24, but fell in three sets to Totino-Grace on the road two days later.
The Vikings then traveled to the Duluth East Invite over the weekend, where they defeated Superior, 2-1, before breezing past Deer River in two sets.
While North Branch fell in two during the semifinals to Hill-Murray, who is on a 15-game winning streak, the Vikings were able to get revenge on Forest Lake during the third-place match.
Due to injury to outside hitter Maddy Kunshier, and just eight players deep, the Vikings needed to make some adjustments.
North Branch switched Kunshier to the right side while swinging junior Hannah Hubbard on the left side, with changes to the back row lineup as well. The adjustments negatively affected the Vikings at first as they fell to an early 7-1 deficit in the first set. Head coach Mike Selbitschka called a timeout to give his girls a pep talk.
“I told them even though our positions have changed, we still need to play volleyball,” Selbitschka said. “We could either leave then and there, or starting playing — they started playing.”
North Branch not only closed the gap, but pulled ahead to inch out a 26-24 win.
The Vikings kept up the intensity through set two, battling head-to-head with the Rangers, who defeated them 3-2 earlier this season. Senior middle hitter Ceyerra Kraemer clinched the 25-23 win and third-place by tipping to the No. 4 spot just over the block to the right.
“They weren’t ready for it since Ceyerra had been swinging away all tournament,” Selbitschka said. “As soon as she tipped it, they were back on their heels and I knew we had it.”
The head coach admitted it may not be the final time the two teams meet, all the more reasons to keep racking up the wins before post-season play.
Sophomore outside hitter Courtney Selbitschka led her squad over the weekend with 32 kills and four blocks, followed by middle hitter Katy Trunk with 19 kills and five blocks. Kraemer added 13 kills and four blocks, while sophomore setter Morgen Coleman recorded 67 set assists.
North Branch is currently third in Section 7AAA standings behind Grand Rapids and Cambridge-Isanti and has an overall record of 13-4.
The Vikings faced Buffalo on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The Bison are 15-1 this season and sit just ahead of North Branch and second behind St. Michael-Albertville in Mississippi Eight Conference standings.
Next, North Branch hosts Chisago Lakes at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.