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BBE takes 18-match winning streak into state opener today

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.

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. But you can't underestimate the Jaguars because they have taken care of business when needed.

Mayer Lutheran, ranked sixth in the final state poll, has squared off against five teams -- three Class AAA schools and two in Class AA -- this season that have also qualified for the state tournament, while No. 7 BBE has faced just one, unbeaten St. Cloud Cathedral in Class AA.

BBE, which has won its last 18 matches, hasn't played a five-game match this season and has posted 21 sweeps among their 30 matches. The Jaguars' only three losses have come in two separate tournaments.

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Mayer Lutheran, a private school on the west side of the Twin Cities metro area, is 5-3 in eight matches that have went the distance.

Heidi Lensing, a 5-11 junior middle hitter, leads BBE with 303 kills this season. Lensing, along with 6-0 senior outside hitter Lindsay Goodwin, also make up a tough wall for opposing hitters to break through, having combined to amass 137Β½ blocks.

In the four Section 5A matches, Lensing pounded down 64 kills and Goodwin had 14 ace blocks.

Making up the other parts of the starting lineup for BBE is senior setter Sarah Gruber (team-high 45 ace serves), junior outside hitter Jena Schroeder (92 kills) and junior outside hitters Emily Roelike (165 kills) and Ashley Serbus (44 kills).

Both teams will play again on Friday at 3 p.m. against either Northern Freeze (28-3) or No. 3 Bethlehem Academy (22-8).

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