Friday, November 08, 2019


Up next for our B-B-E Jaguars volleyball team! The Jaguars face Section 7A champion Greenway for the consolation title of Class 1A. The match begins bright and early at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) morning in St. Paul.

One can call it unfinished business! The Jaguars are bound and determined to end the season with a win!!! YES THEY CAN!

**ADDED quick during a pit stop at Richmond's's video from after tonight's win

The Greenway Raiders are 27-5 overall. They beat Mounds Park Academy in a 1 p.m. match today 25-20, 20-25, 25-10, 25-22 to advance in the tournament. In the regular season, Greenway won the Iron Range Conference with a perfect 7-0 record.

In 2018, Greenway was in Class 2A and lost 3-1 in the Section 7AA finals to North Branch. North Branch went on to win three 3-2 matches at the Class 2A state tournament to earn a state title.

In the Duluth News Tribune newspaper, their story on Greenway's state-opening 3-0 loss to top-seeded Minneota included quotes from their big hitter, junior Claire Vekich. Remember that name!! She is their big gun. She is an incredible athlete.

The article begins by mentioning Minneota junior outside hitter Abby Hennen, who led the Vikings with 18 kills.

Hennen was key to the Vikings frustrating Greenway’s blocking attempts as she mixed up her attacks between going down the line or, even more effectively, hitting cross-court shots.

“They would down the line and then go cross court, so it was hard to cover and our block wasn’t there at all,” said Greenway junior Claire Vekich, who had a match-high 26 kills. “We don’t see teams that can hit around the block. We had holes everywhere and our block wasn’t even up half the time. It was hard for our defense to read.”

Hennen and Natalee Solbiecki, who had 17 kills, kept the Raiders’ defense off-balance.

“The big thing to read when you are an outside hitter is to see where the block is,” Hennen said. “If they are going to block you all the way out to the pin, then you have to try to go cross or hit (blockers) high in the hands. I thought our setters did a good job of pushing us to the pin so we could either go line or cross.”

Greenway jumped to an early three-point lead in the second set, but it didn’t take the Vikings long to establish control as they won 14 of the final 18 points.

Greenway contributed to the setback by struggling in serve receive and making too many setting errors.

“Our serve receive never did get better and we had a lot of blocking errors,” Raiders coach Rhaya Tomberlin-Anderson said. “They run such a fast offense, and we don’t see that very often.”

Getting Vekich involved was Greenway’s primary strategy, however with the serve receive off and freshman setter Lexi Hammer struggling to adapt to the stricter setting rules at state tournaments, she didn’t end up seeing the ball enough.

“We didn’t pass the ball and didn’t use our offense (effectively),” Vekich said. “As the game went on, it got worse, not better.”

Tomberlin-Anderson, who guided the Raiders to three state tournaments as a setter in the mid-1980s and one in her first season as coach in 2001, knew double sets would be called more often.

“That’s frustrating,” she said. “I knew that coming in and Lexi and I talked about getting set, getting your hands high before the ball gets there. With the high ceiling, it’s tough to get used to. I think she’ll be fine, we just have to calm her down and get her ready for tomorrow.”

Greenway certainly got the "house in order" and came out with a win today to advance to the consolation championship and a date with our B-B-E Jaguars!!

Here's a great state tournament preview article on Greenway. Their last state tournament was in 2001. (short link)

  • The Marshall Independent had a great article that re-capped the Minneota-vs.-Greenway match. It included this quote from Minnesota head coach Hayley Fruin (link to the story:
“We knew coming in here that she was going to be one tough player to defend. The tough part is we haven’t really gotten a chance to watch them play too much, we just have a few clips on them, so we didn’t really know what to expect right away,” Fruin said. “I think the nerves kind of got the best of us that first set and we had a few errors on our side that we didn’t really need to have, especially when she was in the back row. After the first set, we changed up a few things; Abby Hennen started playing in the middle a little bit more and then she played in the left back spot and we also changed some things defensively.”

Spread the word! 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 9 for the consolation championship. This match will not be on Smooth Magic 107 FM due to other conflicts. We still certainly greatly appreciate their coverage of our first two state tournament matches!! Thank you, Brady!!

Here's the full scoreboard from state:

**More updates, video, etc. will come in a new blog post after 22:00 tonight .

THANK YOU to Integrity Home Investments of Brooten, who has also stepped up with extra sponsorship of the B-B-E Jaguars volleyball team!