Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Claims Fourth Straight Sub-Section Title, Defeats Osakis in 5A-South Championship 25-10, 25-13, 25-14

The Jaguars (26-3) knocked down the Osakis Silverstreaks via sweep to advance to the Section 5A championship, to be held on Saturday night at 7:00 at the Bertha-Hewitt High School (north on Highway 71). Their high school is located in Bertha, which is about 65 miles north of Belgrade if you take Highway 71 through Sauk & Long Prairie.

The Silverstreaks finish the 2007 season 14-10-5 overall, with a 10-0 record in the Prairie Conference (champions). It was a huge turnaround after a 2-5 start to their season. They went 14-14-1 in 2006. Coach Wessel, in only her second year at the helm of the Silverstreaks program, has done a remarkable job at Osakis after moving from Melrose Area, where she led the Dutchmen to the sub-section championship match in 2004 (losing to our Jaguars). Osakis was 9-14-1 in 2005 under their previous head coach.

Game scores tonight in the 3-0 win were 25-10, 25-13, 25-14. The Jaguars fought past a 9-9 tie in game three with a 16-5 run to finish the match, earning the school's sixth sub-section volleyball title in the process.

A few photos from the match in Brainerd have been posted on my sports photos website.

The Jaguars will not have history on their side on Saturday night, when B-B-E will showcase the 14th team in school history in a section championship event. The overall record in section championships for B-B-E is a dismal 1-12.

Here is the summary:
LOSSES (and one win) in section finals for B-B-E teams:

1995 GBB
1997 BBB, Football
1998 BBB, Wrestling
1999 Wrestling
2002 VB
2004 BBB, VB
2005 BBB, GBB
2005 (WIN!) VB
2006 VB

**Pine River-Backus hung on in a wild game four to win the 5A-North championship by a 3-1 match score, defeating Onamia 25-18, 21-25, 25-16, 30-28.

Onamia comes from the predominantly Class 1A Great River Conference, while Pine River-Backus plays in the mostly Class 2A Mid-State Conference.

Onamia came into the match with a 22-7 record, winners of their past 8 matches (2 playoff). Pine River-Backus is 25-2, and has gone 9-2 since a 16-0 start to their season.

Photos will be posted, along with other information, on Wednesday morning.

**Also from Tuesday night, Section 6AA scores:
St.Cloud Cathedral 3, Pierz 1
Sauk Centre 3, Albany 1
Maple Lake 3, Litchfield 1
Rocori 3, New London-Spicer 0

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Sub-Section 5A-South Championship Match to be Broadcast on 107.1 "Smooth Magic" FM in Glenwood

The pre-game commentary will begin between 8:00 and 8:15 tonight (Tuesday).

I also learned that the location of Saturday's section championship match will be announced after the conclusion of the Pine River-Backus/Onamia match tonight in Brainerd. This will allow for all fans to find out where the match will be this Saturday night at 7:00.

I have two leads (locations) that are possibilities...but they're top-secret right now. :)

Also, the B-B-E/Osakis match will be broadcast on Magic 107 out of Glenwood for anyone that cannot make the trip to Brainerd.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Overconfidence: the Quality that Ends Seasons Early

Jaguars teams in the past have gone into regular season and playoff games with overconfidence that ended in an unexpected loss. I've seen it way too often, with the 2003 boys basketball loss to Hancock rising to the top. (We had smoked Hancock in January 56-34, then fell in the second playoff game in March 68-59 in a nightmare of a loss.)

In the case of our Jaguars volleyball team facing Osakis, it is a factor that could come into play.

The Silverstreaks were soundly beaten on September 24 when the Jaguars hosted them in a non-conference match. An easy judgement would say that the sub-section championship on Tuesday night will be a cakewalk. I believe if our volleyball team is overlooking Osakis, there is a chance that we may lose.

Why leave it to chance? I don't think they will, and I predict they will come out fired up and hitting, ready to add this year's Osakis volleyball team to the list of other Silverstreaks teams that B-B-E has happily knocked out of the playoffs (i.e.= 2003, football - 2004, boys basketball - 2005, girls basketball - 2006, baseball - 2007, girls fastpitch). In every case but the 2006 baseball team, the Jaguars were seeded lower than the Silverstreaks. (This time the Jaguars are clearly the favorite going in.)

If we don't come out fired up, there is a chance we will lose the match.

**No word yet on where Saturday's section final match will be played. The moment I find out it will be posted here. I've got some leads but I have to get confirmation on all of it before posting it here.

**At 3:44pm, I just got off the phone with one of the Section 5A administrators, in Hawley, MN, and he said there are 3 locations that are in play for Saturday's match.
They will wait until the conclusion of Tuesday night's matches for the sub-sections.
This makes sense, they want to name a location that works best distance-wise for the final two teams left standing. So often we see the "Final 2" heading to a location that makes no sense for either team.

I'm thankful that Section 5A was smart about how they split up the entire playoff schedule. The "pigtail" matches began last Monday. With most sections, I've learned that they began last Thursday instead, and this week many will have three matches. (Sub semi-finals on Tuesday, Sub finals on Thursday, Section final on Saturday...that's brutal!)

In the days of cell phones and the internet, it won't be hard to get the word out about where Saturday's match will be played at.

**Directions to Brainerd High School: I'd run up to Long Prairie, then to Little Falls, going onto MN-371 N (state highway 371) from there. After 27 miles on Highway 371, you turn RIGHT on MN-210 E / MN-371 BR S (2.1 miles) After that you turn RIGHT on N 6TH ST / MN-371 BR (0.4 miles) Then take a RIGHT on Pine Street, then a quick LEFT on 5th Street South.

The address for Brainerd High School is 702 South 5th Street, Brainerd 56401.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Systematically Dismantles the Eden Valley-Watkins Eagles for Sixth Straight Sub-Section Championship Berth

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:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Section 5A-South Volleyball Playoffs Begin With the Jaguars Overwhelming Kimball Area 25-12, 25-10, 25-10

In their final home match of the season, the Jaguars had no trouble sweeping the Cubs for the second time this season. Kimball Area finishes with a record of 7-15.

The Jaguars advance to the sub-section semi-final round to face the winner of the Braham/Eden Valley-Watkins match. The semi-final will take place on Friday, October 26 at the Melrose Area High School at 7:00.

Braham took a 2-0 lead in games against Eden Valley-Watkins tonight. The Eagles (16-6) are hosts, as they were seeded #2. Braham, out of the mostly Class 1A Great River Conference, is #3 and entered the match with a 17-8 record, winning 11 of their past 14 matches after a 6-5 start. EV-W won game three tonight and as I type this the fourth game is underway.

***Fresh update at 8:56... Braham lost, so the Jaguars will face the Eagles for a third time this season. The match at Eden Valley went all five games, with the Eagles winning the final three as they advance.

According to Coach Weller, who was listening to the match on 95.5 (a Braham-area radio station) after ours concluded, the fifth game went to the wire, with Eden Valley winning 15-13.

Game scores were:
EVW Braham
19 25
22 25
25 14
25 16
15 13

Friday night will be fun. It's always a good time to smoke a team from Eden Valley-Watkins!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jaguars Football Drops Intense, Exciting Game in Section Quarterfinals, 32-27 at Minneota

After falling behind 20-0 in the first half, the Jaguars scored in the final two minutes before halftime to make it a 20-7 game. They badly outplayed Minneota in the second half but fell in a wild 32-27 game.

The Jaguars finish the season 2-7 overall.

Around Section 5A:
K-M-S 39, R-T-R 13
Dawson-Boyd 34, Canby 0
Renville County West 50, Lakeview 38

Other scores...
Eden Valley-Watkins 47, Benson 8 (Section 5AA)
Pierz 48, Holdingford 0 (Section 6AA)
Rockford 41, Breck 14 (Section 5AAA)
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 12, Maple Lake 0 (Section 4AA)

From Section 4A, the Ogilvie Lions suffered a first-round playoff exit when they hosted Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity and lost 14-12 last night. The second-seeded Lions end what can be considered a turnaround season with a 7-2 final record. Seventh-seeded LP/HT, with a 2-7 record, moves on to face a tough Royalton team in the section semi-finals. They went 1-7 in the regular season, while the Royals are 7-2. These types of upsets are rare, from 7th or 8th-seeded football teams.

****Fresh update on volleyball playoffs. If the Jaguars defeat the Kimball Area Cubs on Thursday night, they would then advance to the sub-section semi-final match which is slated to take place at the Melrose Area High School. The closeness of Melrose suggests that this will more or less be a home match for the Jaguars, which is terribly exciting. They would face the winner of the Eden Valley-Watkins/Braham match on Friday, October 26 at 7:00.

I have volleyball information regarding other teams around the Central Minnesota Conference. Holdingford pulled off a big upset over Eden Valley-Watkins on October 16, when they traveled to the Eagles' homecourt and won by a 3-1 score. The Huskers may have used their win in game three over our Jaguars match at Holdingford on October 11 as a boost that helped them achieve the win over Eden Valley-Watkins. The Eagles (16-6 overall) fell into a third-place tie with Pierz (4-3) in the final CMC standings, with Maple Lake sitting alone in second (6-1) behind our conference champion Jaguars volleyball team.

Kimball Area (7-14 overall, 1-6 CMC) will be entertained by our Jaguars volleyball team on Thursday night at 7:00 in the Sub-Section 5A-South quarterfinals. The Cubs defeated Ogilvie (4-17-3 overall) in the "play-in" match on Monday night by a 3-0 score.

In the north half of Section 5A, top-seeded Pine River-Backus (23-2) will open up their playoff action by hosting Sebeka (17-8-1). Sebeka won their play-in match against Pillager (6-21 overall) on Monday night. The Sebeka-PR/B matchup is intriguing because Sebeka had recently pushed the second-best team in that sub-section to five games in a 3-2 loss to Nevis (22-2). Nevis had defeated PR-B in a five-game match on October 11. It is my assertion that the north half of the section is balanced (after their low seeds have lost out) and that their top seed (Pine River-Backus) is ripe for upsetting.

Meanwhile, there will be no upsets on the horizon for our Jaguars. I feel they will steamroll their sub-section playoff opponents, in lieu of a date with the Saturday, November 3rd Section 5A championship match.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jaguars Football Drops Close Matchup with Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 26-13 Loss on Parents' Night -- Up Next: @ Minneota for the Section 5A Opener

A handful of football photos will be added to my sports photos website on Friday during the day...*scratch that, it will be Saturday morning. Someone forgot to get that on his "to-do" list for his Friday. My bad.

The 6th-seeded Jaguars will face the 3rd-seeded Vikings (5-3) at Minneota next Tuesday, October 26th, at 7:00. It mirrors the seedings in 2005, when they traveled to Wabasso for a 27-6 loss (though they trailed only 14-6 with 9:00 left in the game). This season, the Jaguars' odds are considerably better against the Vikings, and a win in the opener would give them a date with 2nd-seeded Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (8-0).

Fresh updates on Friday: Dawson-Boyd (8-0) is the #1 seed. Renville County West (5-3) is celebrating their first winning football season since the BDRSH-Renville County West pairing was formed in 1989. They are the #4 seed, rounding out the teams with home-field advantage in the quarterfinals. RCW will host Lakeview (5-3), a consolidated school of Hanley Falls, Wood Lake, and Cottonwood based in the town of Cottonwood, on Highway 23 between Granite Falls and Marshall. Lakeview plays in the 9-man Southwest Ridge Conference, and only four of its games in the regular season were 11-man games. Russel-Tyler-Ruthton (2-6) and Canby (1-7) round out the #7 and #8 seeds in the section.

Minneota capped their regular season with a 27-22 loss to Class AA state-ranked Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (8-0). The Vikings finish 5-3 overall and in the Little Sioux Conference. They are a pass-happy team that will be tested by the Jaguars' 3-5 defense. It will be a great game.

In tonight's game for Parents' Night, the Jaguars played a superb first half of ball, trailing 14-7 at halftime. They had everything going their way in the second half until the Lakers scored from midfield to go up 20-7. The Jaguars punched in a touchdown in the final minutes to get within 20-13, but it was not enough to bring the 3rd win of the season.

The HL-W-W Lakers finish 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the Central Minnesota Conference. While the Jaguars finished a third straight season at 2-6, they enter playoffs for the third straight year with high hopes of winning the playoff opener. In 2006 they took apart a weak Ortonville team 53-19, setting a new school record for points scored in a regular season or playoff game (post-Mr. Weimerskirch coaching era). The previous record for most points scored in a game (1989-present) stood after a 43-0 win over Montevideo in the 1997 regular season finale. That season was also the only post-1988 season in which the Jaguars finished with a winning record (5-3 regular season, 7-4 after playoffs).

In 1988, the first year of the B-B-E sports pairing, the Jaguars destroyed Brandon-Evansville on Belgrade-Elrosa's Homecoming game 64-12. It was the final year of our local teams being in the Prairie Conference. (The Prairie Lakes Conference for football that season) They went 4-0 in the Prairie Lakes conference, the last year a local team won a football conference championship, 7-1 in the regular season, then 1-1 in the Class "B" playoffs for a final 8-2 overall record.

Scores from the CMC:
Eden Valley-Watkins 55, Holdingford 12 (EV-W finishes as sole CMC champs)
Pierz 22, Kimball 12
Rockford 36, Maple Lake 17 (The Rockets clinch a first-round home playoff game in a tough Section 5AAA, where they are the #4-seed)

Final CMC standings: conference and overall record
Eden Valley-Watkins 7-0 (8-0)
Pierz 6-1 (7-1)
Rockford 4-3 (5-3)
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 4-3 (5-3)
Kimball Area 3-4 (4-4)
Maple Lake 3-4 (3-5)
B-B-E 1-6 (2-6)
Holdingford 0-7 (1-7)

For the first time ever, Holdingford finishes in last place in the CMC. Rockford finishes in a tie for third place in the CMC, a remarkable feat after placing last in 2006 and 1-7 overall. Kimball Area's 4-4 final record is their best season since the mid-1990s, and they are seeded 5th in Section 4AA, facing 4-seed Mayer Lutheran. Eden Valley-Watkins enters playoffs as the top-ranked team in Class AA and the number-one seed in Section 5AA. Pierz is in Section 6AA and is the 2-seed behind Breckenridge (8-0), the Heart O' Lakes Classic Conference champions. Howard Lake-W-W will host Maple Lake in the first round of Section 4AA, with the Lakers being the 3-seed.

Lastly, I will add that Ogilvie finished this season 7-1, an incredible turnaround from their 3-7 season in 2006. Fans may remember the Jaguars taking apart the Lions in the '06 season opener 36-22 (leading 28-8 at halftime). That is a turnaround season, so hats off to their program for the great season. They are in a conference (Great River Conference) that is nowhere near the caliber of the CMC, however.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ready For Playoffs: Jaguars Volleyball Completes Regular Season With 3-0 Sweep of K-M-S

In the regular season finale, at the Fighting Saints' Parents Night, the Jaguars volleyball team defeated Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (10-11-1) in straight games 25-17, 25-18, 26-24. The Jaguars finish the season with two tournament championships (HL-W-W, Willmar) and an undefeated (7-0) Central Minnesota Conference title. They will enter Sub-Section 5A-South playoffs with a 23-3 overall record, tying the third-best regular season in school history (2003).

The 2003 squad finished 23-3 to set a regular-season win record that was 21-2 (1995). The 2005 squad went 24-2 to break that, then the 2006 squad went 25-3 to set the current record.

Sub-Section 5A-South playoffs begin for the Jaguars on Thursday, October 25 at 7:00, in a home match against Kimball Area or Ogilvie. The Jaguars are the #1 seed in the mini-sub section of 5A-South.

The two underclassmen squads in the varsity-level program, the C- and B-squads, both wrapped up spectacular seasons in which they went a combined 37-3 in matches. More on their seasons will follow tomorrow. The C-squad went 20-0 during the season, including a championship at the B-B-E tournament, claiming a CMC title as well. It was a remarkable run this fall for that group. I hope the magic can continue and keep the Jaguars at the top of area volleyball team in future seasons.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball- 2007 Central Minnesota Conference Champions

The Jaguars volleyball team made it official tonight, in a home match against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. They are undefeated CMC champions in 2007. It is B-B-E's fourth perfect conference championship in volleyball. (1994, 2000, 2003, and 2007)
The Jaguars have now won or shared four of the past six Central Minnesota Conference championships!

HL-W-W finishes 3-4 (5th) in the CMC and is 10-13 overall.

The Jaguars made quick work of the Lakers in games one and three...with the final game showing how overpowering they are when at top form (winning 25-7)! Scores of the first two games were 25-14, 26-24.

They finish the regular season tomorrow at the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High school in Kerkhoven. The B & C-squads will play at 6:00 with the varsity to follow at 7:30.
The Fighting Saints are 10-10-1 overall (3-8 Camden Conference), sitting on a four-match losing streak. They are also the 8th seed in one of the toughest small-school sub-sections in Minnesota, Sub-Section 3A-North. It has a total of 13 teams.

It should be noted that during the regular season, the Jaguars swept two teams with little trouble who ended the regular season as sole champions of their respective conferences. The Hancock Owls (14-7-5) finished at the top of the Pheasant Conference, with the Osakis Silverstreaks (11-9) finishing at the top of the Prairie Conference. Both teams are members of Class 1A, as are our Jaguars.

Playoff information and seedings will be posted here on Tuesday. The Jaguars are the top seed in their "mini" sub-section in Section 5A. I will explain more tomorrow. They open playoffs at home on Thursday, October 25, against Ogilvie or Kimball Area.

A couple last items, regarding football, the Jaguars J.V. football team ended their season today on the right note, defeating visiting Holdingford by a 12-6 score. I will publish notes on their regular season in next week's newspapers, before volleyball and football playoffs begin to heat up.

Also, in 5th-6th grade football action on Saturday, the Jaguars defeated the Willmar Cardinals 19-18. They are coached by former B-B-E Phy Ed teacher Mr. Evenson ("Evy") and went 4-1-1 this season in a 12-team West Central League, good for third place. It was an excellent season for a first-year program.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Jaguars Football Spoils the Holdingford Homecoming game, Comes From Behind in Final Minutes During 29-26 Thriller ; Austin Kampsen Sets Record

**Note: I am trying to get the right format for my video clip that is supposed to be playing in this update. While I'm pretty good at computer-whizery, I'm by no means an ace at it.

The Jaguars football team won the battle of the last-place CMC teams tonight, in a classic game where fans at Holdingford's Homecoming game saw the visitors drive 84 yards in the game's final minutes to come from behind in a 29-26 win for the Blue and Silver.

In the process, senior tailback Austin Kampsen broke the B-B-E single-game rushing record of 279 yards set in 2005 by Jordan Weller. The new record is 288 yards, which he accumulated in 33 carries tonight. The 33 carries, 8.7 yards-per-carry, and the 288 yard total are all new school records at B-B-E. The thrilling win snapped an ugly five-game losing streak for the Jaguars.

Unfortunately, Renville County West also won tonight, and they hold the 5th place spot in Section 5A with a 4-3 record (against all Class 1A opponents) after crushing Sleepy Eye 35-8 tonight. The Jaguars remain in 6th place. RCW has 24 section points, while the Jaguars have 19. RCW faces Sleepy Eye St.Mary's (3-4) next week. It's a toss-up as to who will win that game. The bottom line is that the Jaguars need to take out HL-W-W next Wednesday when they host the Lakers on Parents' Night. They would finish with 26 section points and have a shot at holding down 5th or even 4th place in the final standings. It's called = take your destiny into your own hands, without letting other teams decide who or where you will be playing on playoff-opening night.

Around the CMC tonight...it was an interesting night! Kimball Area is 4-3 after a 20-17 win over Rockford tonight. Rockford was 4-2 coming into the game. The Cubs have not won four games in a season since the 1990s. They appear on the virge of turning their football program around. Also, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted gave Pierz a scare, after hosting the Pioneers tonight. The Lakers ended up losing 21-13. In the fourth CMC game tonight, Eden Valley-Watkins (7-0, 6-0 CMC) clinched a share of the conference crown with a 28-14 win over Maple Lake. Saturday update:

More details will follow on Sunday, including photos from the game on my photos website. I have not had time today to get through my photos. I hope to get a video
clip added showing players celebrating the win later tonight or on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Stung at Holdingford, Picks Up Win Nonetheless by a 3-1 Score, Earns Share of CMC Title

At the Husker's Homecoming volleyball match, the Jaguars were stung in game three with a 25-22 loss, rebounding to shell Holdingford 25-9 in game four to clinch at least a share of the Central Minnesota Conference championship for the second straight season. Holdingford is 9-11 overall and falls to 2-4 in the CMC. The Jaguars are 21-3 overall and 6-0 in the CMC.

Scores from the other three CMC matches tonight:
Kimball Area 3, Rockford 1
Maple Lake 3, Eden Valley-Watkins 1
Pierz 3, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 0

It is always exciting to win a conference championship, and this time is no different. At the beginning of the season, I honestly thought we had only about a 50% chance of repeating as conference champions. I knew Pierz, EV-W, and Maple Lake would be tough as nails...and we swept all three! This team makes a statement every time they step on the court, and the entire B-B-E community should be proud of the hustle, desire, and teamwork displayed by their efforts.

Next Monday night, the Jaguars will host Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted for Seniors' Night. It will be the final CMC match, and the Jaguars will be playing for an outright conference championship. They last earned the CMC title outright in 2003.
The final team chasing the Jaguars for the CMC crown, Maple Lake (5-1 in the CMC), is heavy favorites to win next Monday night in their conference finale. The Irish will be rooting for the HL-W-W Lakers to upset our Jaguars and give them a share of the conference hardware. The Lakers are 10-13 overall and 3-3 in the CMC, and can finish no higher than fourth place in the final standings.

Jaguars volleyball teams have now won or shared conference championships a total of seven times (1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007.) They will fight on Monday night to earn it outright in 2007, equaling the conference finishes of the 1994, 2000, and 2003 squads. The Jaguars were also runners-up in 1997, 2004, and 2005. The 1994-1997 squads competed in the West Central South Conference (B-B-E switched to the CMC beginning in 1999).

The top five teams in the CMC are a combined 77-29 overall, showing that the CMC is indeed a strong volleyball conference. While it is not at the level of, say, the West Central North conference, it is one of the toughest conferences in outstate Minnesota in terms of Class 1A and small Class 2A schools. Three members are in Class 1A (B-B-E, EV-W, and Kimball), while the other four teams are Class 2A members. With the exception of Rockford, the Class 2A schools are on the lower end of the enrollment scale for Minnesota's second-largest volleyball division.

A noteworthy score to report: From Sub-Section 5A-North, the Pine River-Backus Tigers were snakebitten at Nevis (22-2-2) when they lost a 3-2 match to their fellow sub-section Tigers. PR-B (22-2) was the top-ranked team out of the other half of Section 5A, and appears as the favorite to meet up with the winner of Sub-Section 5A-South, in which our Jaguars will battle for a section berth. Pine River-Backus showed they are vulnerable with this tough loss tonight. It may not hurt them in the end, though, as losses like that tend to make very good teams re-focus and make sure they are doing the little things right that winners do on game night. This loss shows that any top-ranked team must always "show up" and play their game if the outcome is to be a win. Nevis and PR-B may very well meet again in their sub-section championship.

In girls tennis playoff action, six members of the Jaguars girls tennis team competed in the Sub-Section 5A-West individual tournament today at the New London-Spicer High School tennis courts. Details of the matches will appear in next week's local newspapers.

On Friday night, the Jaguars football team travels to Holdingford to face the 1-5 Huskers for their Homecoming game. Both teams will be searching for their first Central Minnesota Conference win of the season. The Huskers have fallen on hard times, a shadow of their former selves when they won CMC crowns on a regular basis (last done in 2003).

Monday, October 08, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Sweeps Morris Area on Parents' Night

The Jaguars volleyball team won the 20th match of the season tonight by defeating the Morris Area Tigers via a 3-0 sweep. It was also Parents' Night. The Tigers, who were a fellow Section 6AA opponent of the Jaguars, fell to 5-13-1 overall (3-8 West Central South) on the year.

The win marks the fifth straight year that they have won 20 matches in a season. In 2002 they went 19-9 while earning the CMC championship, along with the Sub-Section 6AA-17 title and a Section 6AA Runner-up trophy. Every year since then they have finished with no less than 23 wins. (The program also went 24-2 in 1994 and 22-2 in 1995, winning West Central South Conference titles both seasons, and a sub-section championship berth in '94.)

2003: 25-4, 8-0 CMC Champions, sub-section runners-up
2004: 23-6, 6-1 CMC runners-up, sub-section champions
2005: 28-4, 6-1 CMC runners-up, sub-section and section champions, state tournament berth
2006: 28-4, 6-1 CMC Co-champions, sub-section champions

The complete story on 2007 is yet to be written, but the team is building momentum towards a deep playoff run, and the sky is the limit as far as how much success the Jaguars can earn in the Class A playoffs this year.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Wins Willmar Tournament For the Second Year in a Row

The Jaguars volleyball team went 3-0 in pool play to advance to the championship match of the Willmar Cardinal Classic Volleyball tournament today. They opened the day by beating the Benson Braves in straight games.

Then came New London-Spicer, much improved over the past two seasons when the won a combined 11 matches. The Wildcats took game one 25-15, as the Jaguars were completely out of sync and mentally AWOL. They turned the tables, however, as they picked up game two 25-14 and the deciding game three 15-8.

The Jaguars then scraped out another tough win against perennial area power Buffalo Lake-Hector, also in three games. The Mustangs won 29-27 in a wild game one, in which the Jaguars almost overcame a 22-17 deficit. Game two was all the Jaguars with a 25-16 score. It was a coast downhill from there, when they defeated the Mustangs 15-5 in game three.

The championship match included our Jaguars, and Parkers Prairie, who defeated the host Willmar Cardinals in a 2-1 match in their final pool play match.

In the championship match against Parkers Prairie (18-6, top team in Sub-Section 6A-South), the Jaguars won in straight games to repeat as tournament champions. It also marked the fourth straight season they played in this tournament's title match.

Up next: the Jaguars host the Morris Area Tigers (5-11) on Monday night for Parents' Night. They travel to Holdingford on Thursday for a CMC match.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Jaguars Football Drops Homecoming Game to Kimball Area 29-12

The Jaguars football team started out strong, as they led 6-0 after the first quarter, but then gave up 29 unanswered points while falling to the Kimball Cubs on Homecoming.

The Jaguars volleyball team will participate in the 11th annual Willmar Cardinal Classic Invitational on Saturday, beginning at 9:00. Other teams at the tournament will be Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Benson, Breckenridge, Buffalo Lake-Hector, New London-Spicer, Parkers Prairie and host Willmar. It is the same group of teams that were there in 2006, when the Jaguars emerged as champions.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Picks up Fifth CMC Sweep of the Season

The Jaguars volleyball team won tonight in Central Minnesota Conference action against the Kimball Cubs, winning 25-10, 25-9, 25-16. They now have a day of rest (hopefully rest?...on the Friday of Homecoming) while preparing for the Willmar tournament on Saturday (which begins at 9:00am).

The Cubs fall to 0-5 in the CMC and 4-11 overall.

Around the CMC in prep volleyball tonight:
Eden Valley-Watkins 3, Rockford 1
Maple Lake 3, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 0
Pierz 3, Holdingford 0

After five matches, here are the current conference standings:
B-B-E (5-0)
EV-W (4-1)
Maple Lake (4-1)
HL-W-W (3-2)
Pierz (2-3)
Holdingford (2-3)
Kimball (0-5)
Rockford (0-5)

In girls tennis action, the Jaguars girls tennis team fell 6-1 in the Sub-Section 5A-West quarterfinal match against the Maccray/Renville County West Wolverines. A handful of Jaguars will move on to the individual round of the sub-section tournament, to be held next Thursday at 2:00 at the New London-Spicer High school tennis courts.

See you at the game on Friday night. Kickoff for the Homecoming football game is at 7:00 against the Kimball Cubs (2-3).

Monday, October 01, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Earns a Sweep Against Foley on the Homecourt

The Jaguars volleyball team hosted the Foley Falcons and picked up the 14th win of their season via a 3-0 sweep. The Falcons have only one win this season.

The match was delayed slightly when the Falcon volleyball team mistakenly assumed that they were to play at the B-B-E High School. After unloading their bus at our high school campus, a Jaguars football player was nice enough to notify the visiting volleyball team that they were in the wrong building in the wrong town.

One of the Foley parents was overheard saying "Who would have thought?" when discussing the minor ordeal as they learned about B-B-E's odd way of conducting business.

The Jaguars will entertain Kimball on Thursday night in CMC action.

The cross country teams travel to BOLD (Olivia) for a 4:30 meet on Thursday as well.

On Thursday, at 4:30, the Jaguars girls tennis team travels to the Maccray High School tennis courts in Clara City where they will face off with the Wolverines in a Sub-Section 5A-North quarterfinal match.