The Vikings started their season with a pair of tough tests to see where they stand in their defense of their state championship. And based on the results, they stand pretty well.
The first match of the season saw the Vikings face the Moorhead Spuds, who are currently riding a four-year Class AAA state tournament berth streak. The Vikings came away with a very satisfying 3-1 win over the Spuds by scores of 25-14, 25-22, 19-25, 25-22. Senior Cianna Selbitschka picked up right where she left off last season, recording 18 kills and 18 digs. Haley Hadrava earned seven kills in her new position of second outside hitter.
During the Breakout Classic on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Edina, the Vikings faced a potential state tournament foe in #8-ranked Southwest Christian. And if the action of this early-season match is any indication, the two teams could put on quite a show at state.
North Branch came back from a 2-1 deficit to pull off an exciting 3-2 win, with the deciding set going to extra points before the Vikings claimed a 19-17 win. Selbitschka had an incredible 29 kills and 58 digs in the match, with Hadrava adding 22 digs and Kylie Kline posting 30 digs of her own.
North Branch is struggling to find their offensive groove to start the season, after getting shut out in their first two games.
The Vikings traveled to Esko to start the season, falling 3-0 to the Eskimos. Two days later in their home-opener, North Branch dropped a 6-0 game to Henry Sibley.
North Branch had a very busy start to their season, with the team scheduled to compete in a trio of quadrangulars in the first week of competition.
The first tournament of the season saw the Vikings capture the team championship at Mora. North Branch had solid play up and down their lineup as they beat Mora 5-2, and Aitkin and Cloquet 6-1.
Rains put an end to the action in short order in Hibbing, providing the Vikings with little more than a road trip up north.
Their final tournament of the week was at home, where the Vikings went 2-1 after beating Fridley, Duluth Denfeld and losing to Osseo.
In the words of head coach Jake Borash, the Vikings’ started their season “quite slow and unprepared,” leading to a 4-1 loss to Proctor.
The Vikings gave up two goals in the first three minutes of the game, and could only muster a single goal from Noah Schwartzrock before the Rails added two more goals to earn the win.