Viking capture first at Mora

NB volleyball falls to top-rate teams during week

The North Branch varsity volleyball team poses with its first-place hardware after taking the title at the Mora Tournament with a 4-0 record on Saturday.  Photo supplied

The North Branch varsity volleyball team poses with its first-place hardware after taking the title at the Mora Tournament with a 4-0 record on Saturday.
Photo supplied

Despite suffering two losses last week to Buffalo, which is 17-1 this fall, and Chisago Lakes, the North Branch volleyball team re-focused over the weekend to rally for first place at the Mora Tournament.

The Vikings breezed by Milaca and Crosby-Ironton in pool play with 2-0 wins over both teams, then continued on to sweep Greenway to earn a bid to the championship game against the host team.

North Branch fell in the first set to the Mustangs, the Vikings would take sets two and three to end Mora’s 12-game winning streak and claim the title.

Head coach Mike Selbitschka said they were able to make the adjustments they needed late in the game.

“They were tipping to the right spots in the beginning while we were playing more of a read defense,” Selbitschka said. “We made some adjustments and were serve receiving much better than the week before so our offense was able to get going—our middles were running ones from the get go.”

In the championship matchup, sophomore outside hitter Courtney Selbitschka led her squad with 18 kills, 11 digs and two aces, followed by fellow outside and junior Maddy Kunshier with six kills and 11 assists. Senior middle hitter Ceyerra Kraemer recorded five kills and three blocks while junior Katy Trunk added five kills in the middle.

Sophomore setter Morgan Colemen earned 23 set assists, three kills and eight digs, while senior libero Cassie Doerr added nine digs.

Selbitschka said it was promising to see his team turn around after a tough week of competition and respond positively to a long team talk the Friday before the tournament in Mora.

“We had to get back to playing hard, having fun and leaving it all on the court,” the head coach said. “If you’re not having fun, the energy level just isn’t there and you don’t compete well. But we’re seeing a change now that that energy level is back, and we’re having fun again.”

The Vikings are 17-6 overall and 3-3 in the Mississippi Eight Conference, where they sit in fourth behind Buffalo, St. Michael-Albertville and Cambridge-Isanti. North Branch is third in Section 7AAA standings with a record of 7-2, behind Cambridge-Isanti (5-1 in section, 14-5 overall) and Grand Rapids (4-1 in section, 19-1 overall).

North Branch faced the Bluejackets in a section matchup on Tuesday night on the road, and next host Monticello at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10.

 

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