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WILLMAR -- A fast start enabled Willmar to improve to 10-0 in the Central Lakes Conference as the Cardinals won their fifth straight game by upending Sartell 75-48 Thursday. The Cardinals are off to their best start in the CLC since going 12-0 during the 2003-04 campaign. Three quick layups from senior Casey Sussenguth, who led Willmar (12-3) with 21 points, and five points from sophomore Taylor Filipek enabled the Cardinals to take an 11-2 lead only 2:20 into the game. Sartell (3-8, 7-10) eventually got within four with 4:05 left in the half.
WILLMAR -- Jena Thompson posted a double-double and Briana Goldschmidt added a well-rounded game as Willmar pulled away to drub Rocori 61-46 in a Central Lakes Conference game Tuesday. The Cardinals (3-5, 6-7) held a slim 28-26 lead at halftime before they outscored Rocori 33-20 in the second half. Willmar limited the Spartans to just six field goals in the final 18 minutes of play. "We talked about a couple things at halftime, improve our team defense and the need to cut turnovers down," said Willmar coach Brad Atchison.
ST. PAUL -- Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Mayer Lutheran have a couple of things in common, having played 30 matches this season and returning to the state tournament after missing out a year ago. One thing they don't have in common, however, is their records. BBE is 27-3 and Mayer Lutheran sits at 17-13, but the Crusaders' mark doesn't accurately indicate their success. When the two teams meet today at 3 p.m. in the first round of the Class A State Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Mayer Lutheran could be favored slightly for enduring a tough regular-season schedule.
REDWOOD FALLS -- Yellow Medicine East beat Montevideo 24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 18-25, 15-13 in a barn-burner of a Section 3AA-North championship match Thursday. The win pits the Sting in the Section 3AA title match with Marshall at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State University. "We expected a battle tonight. Both teams came out with everything they had," said YME coach Kirsten Tjosaas. "It was a hard-fought match.
DAWSON -- Even with leading rusher Matt Anderson sidelined with a separated shoulder, Dawson-Boyd hardly missed a beat as the Blackjacks drubbed Renville County West 26-3 Saturday to advance to the Section 5A final. Dawson-Boyd will take on KMS in the championship Friday at the Fargodome. The unbeaten and top-seeded Blackjacks (10-0) have called upon Jake Bothun to pick up Anderson's share of the carries in the playoffs and the sophomore hasn't let the team down. After gaining 91 yards in the quarterfinals, Bothun scampered for 154 yards on 23 carries against RCW (6-4).
WILLMAR -- A balanced attack allowed Willmar to post its second sweep in three matches as the Cardinals drubbed Brainerd 25-15, 25-20, 25-19 Tuesday to move above .500 in the Central Lakes Conference. It was also the third straight win for the Cardinals, who improved to 4-3 in the CLC and 6-6 overall. Three players had five-or-more kills for Willmar with Greta Smith pounding down a match-high 15 while Megan Brown and Hannah Smith both had four ace serves. "They wanted to play better on their home court," said Willmar coach Mary Hanson, whose team improved to 2-3 in home matches.
MORA -- Chip Rankin, who led Litchfield to its only state high school wrestling championship in 2003, left the school district last month to become the Dean of Students at Mora High School. Rankin coached the Dragons for seven seasons before leaving for Iraq with his National Guard unit in 2006.
WILLMAR -- For the second home match in a row, Willmar blew a 2-0 lead as the Meagan Loesch-led St. Cloud Tech Tigers rallied to post a 19-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-12 Central Lakes Conference win Tuesday. Willmar (1-3, 3-6) never trailed in the first two games as senior Greta King, who finished with a match-high 20 kills, had 11 kills, including two that ended each game. The Cardinals built up an eight-point lead in the third game, but numerous serving errors from Willmar allowed the Tigers (2-1, 6-2) to catch up and eventually pull ahead. St.
WILLMAR -- Fergus Falls stormed back after losing the first two games to stun Willmar 17-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-22, 15-9 in the Central Lakes Conference Thursday night. Willmar (1-2, 2-2) had a 20-12 lead in the fourth game, but the Cardinals committed six erors down the stretch, allowing the Otters (2-0, 2-0) to even the match. The Otters then grabbed an early lead in the fifth game and never looked back, handing Willmar a tough home loss. "We lost our intensity and had a lack of communication," said Willmar coach Mary Hanson after blowing a 2-0 lead.
MORRIS -- Big Cat Stadium, home of the Morris Area Tigers and University of Minnesota, Morris Cougars, has been selected to host a first-round game of the Class AA State High School Football Tournament this fall. The Section 5AA champion and 8AA winner will square off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 at the facility that was opened last year. Section 5AA features seven area schools: Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, Benson, BOLD, Lac qui Parle Valley, MACCRAY, Paynesville and Yellow Medicine East.