Friday, October 24, 2014

Step I: Eagles push the Jaguars through four sets

The Jaguars celebrate earning match point tonight while advancing in the playoffs.

The B-B-E Jaguars volleyball team won an exciting playoff match by a 3-1 margin tonight. After Eden-Valley-Watkins won game one 25-21, the Jaguars reeled off three wins in a row to advance to next Tuesday's semifinal round in Long Prairie.

The Jaguars have now won every playoff opener since 1999! Wow! Going back as far as I can remember, here's the years up to 1999 that the Jaguars also won volleyball playoff openers: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997. They now have a 16-match winning streak in playoff openers.

Game one brought a nice start for the Jaguars who jumped ahead 8-3. The Eagles lifted up their play by a mile and took the next seven points in a row to gain the lead. Tessa Halvorson's ace serve put the Jaguars ahead 11-10, but they gave up four points in a row and eventually fell behind 19-13 with a shell-shocked appearance. They fought back to a 20-18 deficit with an ace serve by Hailey Braegelman, but the Eagles went up 24-19 before getting the four-point win.

The Jaguars proceeded to win the next three games 25-16, 25-10, 25-20.

Want a stroll down memory lane the last time the Jaguars had to dig deep to pull out a playoff-opening win? It wasn't that long ago...just two years ago in fact against Osakis.

Here's the end of game three:

Up next: the sub-section semifinals
The third-seeded Verndale Pirates will be the opponent for the Jaguars on Tuesday. Verndale, now 21-9 overall, beat second-seeded Upsala 3-1. The Cardinals, who finished 18-7, had a solid ranking of 22nd in the Class 1A QRF scale; their noteworthy losses were to Osakis and Browerville in Prairie Conference action.

I don't know much about Verndale other than they have a ranking of 48th in the Class 1A QRF scale. I honestly did more scouting throughout the season on Upsala, figuring we'd eventually have to go through them to advance out of the sub-section. Time to throw out my notes and start over. I have a hunch without doing much digging that Verndale is a quality opponent and will present a tall task for the Jaguars in round two. In a nutshell: 48th on the QRF is not impressive, but knocking out Upsala in four games is. Clearly, the Pirates want to have a say in who becomes the Sub-Section 5A-South champion.

Verndale finished 4-2 (third) in the Park Region Conference behind champion Henning (23-6, 6-0) and runner-up Sebeka (21-7, 5-1). Sebeka is a number-one seed in Sub-Section 5A-North and ranked a very good 15th in the Class 1A QRF scale.

I haven't seen a score from the Nevis vs. Pine River-Backus match in the north sub-section. Nevis has won their sub-section every year since 2008 and won the section title every year since 2011. **Update: wow, I'm actually a little surprised, but Nevis took out PR-B in four games tonight at Pine River. That's a heck of a win for the Tigers. **Update: after further review, I see that Nevis had defeated PR-B on Sept. 4 in Pine River in the Northland Conference opener. Nevis (14-16 overall now) went on to finish 6-0 in the Northland Conference and win the championship alone. PR-B finished second in their conference and then 21-6 overall after losing tonight.

Section 5A volleyball playoff scores on October 24:
Sebeka 3-0 over Menagha (25-14, 25-23, 25-11)
Onamia 3-0 over Hinckley-Finlayson (25-11, 25-20, 25-13)
Braham 3-0 over Ogilvie (25-14, 25-12, 25-13)
Nevis 3-1 over Pine River-Backus (25-18, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20)
Kimball 3-1 over Royalton (25-24, 15-25, 25-22, 25-21)
Browerville 3-0 over Swanville (25-20, 25-18, 25-14)
Verndale 3-1 over Upsala

Pine River-Backus was rated 19th in the latest QRF Class 1A rankings, which to me is very good. (The Jaguars are tied at ninth by the way.) So tonight we saw a team rated 22nd and 19th both taken out of the playoffs by lower-rated teams. Anything can happen in when it's sudden-death action!

Stay tuned for more updates!

While you're here, click on this link and read up on the Jaguar wrestling clothing store. Their orders are being taken through the weekend, but it closes down on Sunday!

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