Tigers go on to reach State tournament: Heading to Pierz for the Nov. 1st 5A East Subsection volleyball finals, Braham saw the opponent quality rise sharply when they faced defending section champ Nevis. The Tigers brought a blistering attack to the court that evening, sweeping the Bombers 25-8, 25-18, 25-8.
“The Nevis team we faced would have to be one of the strongest teams I have ever seen play. Our girls did as much as they could do without having a dominant block to stop the fierce attack,” described Bomber Coach Britne Engelking. “Riley Hanson hit from everywhere. She alone had 22 kills; there was literally no way to dig many of kills inside the 10-foot line over the block.”
Hanson’s hitting propelled the Tigers out to an 8-1 lead in Game 1. Then when it was her serving turn, the 6’1” senior’s wickedly-hot topspins accounted for five straight points (including two aces) which made it 20-3.
But Nevis is not a one-horse team. 5’10” junior Megan Norby could also rip the ball at the net, as could 5’9” sophomore Denia Brown. And the Tigers can dig extremely well.
Braham regained composure in Game 2 as early kills from Dani Braund and Kayla Nickles, along with a Nickles’ ace, kept it tight early. Nevis got sloppy with its hitting which helped keep Braham close before Hanson and Katie Becker served out for the win.
Game 3 saw the Tigers refocus and jump out 10-1. Hanson had seven kills (two that went straight down) and two more aces, and rightfully she got the last two kills of the night.
Braham closed its Great River Conference championship season at 19-5 overall.
“We did have an incredible season, and it really felt like the conference title this year was a great battle against some great teams that came down to the wire,” said Coach Engelking. “Looking at the program, we have a lot of talent coming up which is exciting, and being in the subsection championship was good experience for a lot of these younger girls.”
She continued, “I think the team that I coached this year surpassed the expectations I had of them, but accomplished what I knew was a possible for them. I am very proud of every member of the squad this year and thank the parents, fans, and community for their support this season.”
Bombers vs. Nevis: Lynch– 14 digs, 10 assists, 1 ace; Nickles– 4 kills, 1 ace; Tomlinson– 3 kills, 1 ace; Braund– 3 kills.
• In Saturday’s Section 5A championship back at Pierz, Nevis slammed West champ Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 25-6 in Game 1 en route to a 3-0 sweep. The Tigers (24-8) go into this weekend’s Class A State Tourney as the No. 4 seed, opening against Win-E-Mac in Thursday’s quarterfinals at the Xcel Center. Defending champ Bethlehem Academy is the No. 1 seed.
• Anoka (23-7) is the new champion of Cambridge-Isanti’s Section 7AAA after downing St. Francis in the Nov. 3 title match. The Tornadoes got the tough draw of facing No. 1 seed and 2011 Class AAA runner-up Lakeville North for Thursday’s quarterfinals at the Xcel.