Excited, yes...just a little!
The Jaguars (25-3) swept the Eagles (17-7 finish) to advance to the Sub-Section 5A-South championship match, to be held next Tuesday night at Brainerd. Game scores were 25-11, 25-9, 25-13. It was a good ol'fashioned whooping! The Eagles were outmatched in every phase of volleyball tonight, and it was exciting to see them self-destruct in game two as the Jaguars jumped in front 11-1.After a string of five straight sub-section championship match berths in Class 2A, the Jaguars now begin writing their own history as a member of Class 1A, under the three-class system in Minnesota.
Jaguars volleyball teams have been in eight sub-section championship matches since 1994, with an overall record in such matches of 5-3. They won their first sub-section crown under the old two-class format in 1997 (Sub-Section 20, Section 5A, defeating New London-Spicer in a wild five-game match), followed by a sub-section crown earned in 2002 when they earned their first playoff win over Sauk Centre in school history. They have been sub-section champions as well in 2004 (defeating Melrose 3-0), 2005 (defeating Sauk Centre 3-1), and 2006 (defeating Sauk Centre 3-1).
Do we see a pattern here?
In 1994, the Jaguars capped an undefeated regular season (22-0, the only in school history) with a first-ever berth in a sub-section championship. Previously, the Jaguars lost District 20 semi-final matches in 1988 and 1989, as the furthest they went in playoffs. In the '94 match, the Jaguars fell in a five-game barnburner at St.John's University to state-ranked Sauk Centre.
In 2000, the Jaguars fell to another state-ranked team out of Sauk Centre by a 3-0 sweep in the sub-section championship in Section 6AA.
In 2003, the Jaguars fell to a state-ranked unit from Albany in a 3-0 match.Tonight at the Melrose Area High School, one could sense just how determined this team and the coaches are to achieve their goals...
As determined as a steamroller. It also felt like we were returning the favor to Eden Valley-Watkins, whose football team led our Jaguars 48-0 at halftime of the Eagles' Homecoming on September 28. This was volleyball at its finest...at least on the Jaguars' side of the net.Photos from the match can be found on my sports photos website, the link can be found on the right in my "links" section.
Next Tuesday at Brainerd High School, the Jaguars will play in the second match of the evening at that location. At 6:30 the two teams remaining from the north half of the 24-team Section 5A will face off for a sub-section championship. Our match will probably begin around 8:30, possibly sooner but I doubt it. On Monday during school hours at our high school and elementary, sign-ups will take place for coach busses (out of Melrose) to bring fans to Brainerd on Tuesday night.
*Cost is $11 for adults. I don't know what the charge is for students/children. From what I heard, the sign-up will only take place on Monday, and a minimum number is needed to make the coach busses happen.
**Fresh update at 8:45= The Jaguars will face the Osakis Silverstreaks for the Sub-Section 5A-South championship. The Silverstreaks (14-9 overall, 10-0 Prairie Conference) were shelled by the Jaguars on September 24th in a non-conference match.
During the regular season, the Silverstreaks went 10-0 in the Prairie Conference. They swept their conference opponents in nine of the ten matches, with a 3-1 win over Upsala having their only conference loss in a game this season. (I won't say anything about the Prairie Conference until after next Tuesday night.)
At Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School, Osakis defeated Bertha-Hewitt by a 3-1 margin, gaining a sub-section berth. The win reversed a 2-0 decision (26-24, 25-23) won by the Bears on September 8th in the Browerville Tournament.
In the semi-final match tonight, the Bears (15-11) won game one 25-18.
Osakis was staring at a 2-0 deficit in games, behind 24-17 in game two, when they rattled off nine unanswered points to even the match 1-1 with a 26-24 win.
They went on to win the final two games (25-22 in game four) as well to earn the right to face our Jaguars next Tuesday night in Brainerd.**Fresh update at 9:32, from Pine River-Backus head coach Alisa Den Hartog... Pine-River Backus (25-3) defeated Nevis (24-3-2 finish) in a thrilling five-game match, with game five going to PR-B by a 15-12 score.
Also, Onamia (22-7) defeated East Central (17-4 finish) in another five-game match.
In talking with Coach Den Hartog on the phone just a few minutes ago, she stated that the section is loaded with not only strong teams, but a ton of balance, and it is up for grabs at this point.
It will be fun to watch how the sub-section championships and subsequent section championship match play out.
And yes, Jeb, you're right...the Osakis-BBE match will be broadcast on 107.1 FM out of Glenwood. After talking to the radio station tonight, they said that Dave will be making the trip.This Jaguars sports update brought to you by: