The Vikings continued their dominant season, collecting a pair of 3-0 conference wins, plus taking first place in the Rochester Century Tournament.
In winning down in Rochester, the Vikings topped Tartan, Mankato East and Austin in two straight sets before being extended to a third set in the championship match against the host team.
Cianna Selbitschka picked up 41 kills in the tournament, including one that brought her career total to the illustrious 2,000 mark. Reagan Irons and Paige Peaslee are proving to be a strong combination at the middle hitter position, with Irons collecting 19 kills and Peaslee right behind with 18.
Two nights earlier, North Branch easily handled conference newcomer Becker by scores of 25-14, 25-11, 25-17. The team had an equally easy time in dispensing with Princeton, winning 25-12, 25-16, 25-13.
With just one conference match left, against Monticello on Thursday, Oct. 3, the Vikings are looking at clinching their first-ever Mississippi 8 championship with an undefeated record.
The Vikings wrapped up their regular season with a pair of losses, with one being very close and one not so close.
The close loss came against St. Francis, where North Branch fell 4-3. Picking up wins for the Vikings were Chloe Moline in singles competition and the doubles teams of Sophie Smith and Hollie Ohnsorg, and Rachel Wurdemann and Hailey Bistodeau, who extended their winning streak to four straight.
The lopsided loss came to conference champion Chisago Lakes, who topped the Vikings 6-1. The first doubles team of Smith and Ohnsorg picked up the only win for North Branch.
The team was also supposed to go against Forest Lake on Wednesday, Sept. 25; however, that match got rained out, with no makeup date available before sections were to start.
For team sections, the Vikings were scheduled to face Blaine on Tuesday, Oct. 1, but that match was postponed due to rain.
The Vikings were facing long odds against perennial section power Cloquet on Friday, Sept. 27. The team fought the favored Lumberjacks hard, but just couldn’t quite overcome some costly mistakes and lost 26-12.
The score was tied at 6-6 at halftime, with North Branch’s score coming from a lineman’s dream as Johnny Snaza scooped up a fumble and rumbled into the end zone for a touchdown.
After Cloquet took a 13-6 lead in the third quarter, North Branch came close to tying the game up again on a short TD run to start the fourth quarter. However, the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, making the score 13-12.
Cloquet would add two more late touchdowns to double their score and bring on the final 26-12 score.
The Vikings had a pair of 1-0 scores last week, with North Branch coming out on the right side of one and the wrong side of the other.
The loss came at the hands of Chisago Lakes on Thursday, Sept. 26. Two days later, it was North Branch’s turn to pick up a close victory, downing Big Lake 1-0.
North Branch had an overall very positive week, going 1-0-1 for the week.
Normally, a tie isn’t much to be happy about, but when it comes against an undefeated, #2-ranked team who also happens to be your biggest rival, it feels pretty good.
That was the case with the Vikings as they battled Chisago Lakes to a 1-1 draw. Two days later, North Branch got a nice section win by topping Spectrum 5-1. Junior Paige Bauer picked up a hat trick in the win.
The Vikings traveled to Chisago Lakes for a four-team meet on Tuesday, Sept. 24, where the boys earned second place and the girls came in third out of three teams.
Zachary Johnson came in fourth place with a time of 19:57.9 to lead the boys. Cora Hudella came in sixth for the girls with a time of 24:12.10.