PRINSBURG — In the second set of Monday's match against Central Minnesota Christian, Paynesville's Jenna Lundquist set up shop at the baseline. She served 18 times on a 17-0 Bulldog run, tallying three aces in the set as Paynesville took the set 25-6 on the way to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-6, 25-9) match victory.
ALBANY - New London-Spicer split a quartet of matches at the Albany Tournament Friday. The Wildcats topped Osakis 25-12, 25-19 and Braham 25-10, 25-17. Watertown-Mayer and defending state champions Maple Lake got the better of NLS, though, to finish with a split. Sophia Austvold and Presley Arndt-Callenius split the setting duties, tallying 33 and 30 assists apiece. Ashlyn Olson led the way offensively with 19 kills. Renville County West transfer made a strong impression with her new team, racking up five ace serves and six solo blocks on the day.
LITCHFIELD—The Litchfield Dragons have their eyes set on another trip to the state tennis tournament and looked every bit the part of a team ready to return on Wednesday in the team's season-opening Litchfield Invitational with Willmar, BBE and Minnewaska. The Dragons rolled to three straight victories, dispatching with the Cardinals and BBE 7-0 and earning a 6-1 win against the Lakers.
Coaches and athletic directors around the state are dusting off shoulder pads and untangling volleyball nets in preparation for the 2018 fall sports season. Newly minted seniors are ready for their turn to lead the chants in the huddle and accept the captain's armband or the starting role under center. Everyone is eyeing the first game of the year, planning for a win and strategizing where they'll want the parade to go after they win the state title. Or maybe, just maybe, they'll try to pick a spot in the trophy case for the imaginary, but all-important West Central Cup.
MANKATO - Willmar lost ground in the Northwoods League North Division second-half race as Mankato pounded 16 hits off Stingers pitchers in an 11-4 victory on Tuesday at Franklin Rogers Park. The loss dropped the Stingers into a second-place tie with Mankato at 16-8, two games behind division-leader Duluth (18-6). The Stingers have a chance to make up ground against Duluth today when the Huskies and Willmar tangle in a doubleheader at Bill Taunton Stadium. Game times are 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.
MANKATO - The Willmar Stingers' bullpen matched Mankato's out for out over the final five innings and the Stingers came away with a 9-5 victory on Monday at Franklin Rogers Park. Big innings helped the Stingers and MoonDogs plate a bunch of runs before the pitchers knuckled down. The Stingers stayed within a game of North Division-leading Duluth, which will be in Willmar on Wednesday for a doubleheader. Game times are 1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. All 10 North Division teams play doubleheaders that day.
BIRD ISLAND—New London-Spicer kept its dream season alive with a resounding 16-1 victory over Holdingford in Game 3 of Central Sub-State finals Sunday afternoon to advance to the Division II State Tournament in Pelican Rapids. The state tourney is Aug. 3-5 at Chauncey Martin Field in Pelican Rapids. NLS will be one of eight teams in the state tournament vying for a chance to represent Minnesota at the Division II Regional in Wahpeton, North Dakota the following weekend.
SACRED HEART - The Bird Island Bullfrogs scored early and often in a 9-1 win over the hometown Sacred Heart Saints in a battle for Highway 212 Wednesday night. Bullfrog pitcher Logan Sandgren kept the Saint bats guessing all night, spinning a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts from the bump. Sacred Heart's lone run came in the sixth inning when catcher Trent Novotny walked with the bases loaded to score left fielder Brady Holwerda. Novotny also had the only hit of the game for the Saints, doubling in the fourth inning.
WILLMAR - Eli Wilson delivered a game-winning two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Willmar Stingers kicked off a crucial four-game series with the North Division-leading La Crosse Loggers with a 5-4 win at Bill Taunton Stadium.
BIRD ISLAND - Riley Kramer delivered a three-run home run as part of a four-run seventh inning that lifted Bird Island past Raymond 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. Riley Kramer's home run supported Luke Kramer's complete game performance during which he struck out nine and didn't walk a Rocket. Luke Kramer surrendered a home run in the first when Tyler Steen hit a two-run shot to give the Rockets a 2-0 lead.