Bluejackets, Bombers garner top seeds for this week’s volleyball playoffs

Both Braham and Cambridge-Isanti were rewarded for their 20-match win volleyball seasons by earning No. 1 seeds for this week’s playoff start.

Braham collected one of the four No. 1 seeds in the pod set-up for the Section 5A brackets. The Bombers received a first-round bye and will host the winner between No. 4 East Central (3-12) and No. 5 Hinckley-Finlayson (5-16) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25.  A victory that night would advance the Bombers to the Oct. 29 5A quarterfinals at Crosby-Ironton (6 p.m.).

Defending section champ Nevis (18-9) is another No. 1 pod seed in Braham’s half of the 5A brackets. In the other half, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (21-7) and Bertha-Hewitt (19-8) are also No. 1 seeds.

The Section 5A semis will be Oct. 31 in Pierz (6/8 p.m.) and the  championship will be Nov. 2 back in Pierz.

• Braham wrapped up the regular season with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 25-21 loss to Pierz (18-9) on Oct. 21. Stats leaders vs. Pioneers: Kayla Nickles – 6 ace serves, 8 kills, 13 digs, 1 block, serve receive ratio 2.7 with 8 serve receives to target;  Carley Lynch – 7 kills, 2 ace serves, 12 digs, 23 assists, 2 assisted blocks; Angela Bendickson– 11 kills, 1 ace serve, 6 digs 1 block: Amelia Fiedler– 14 digs 1 ace serve; Kaylie Paitl – 5 kills 4 ace serves 1 block; Grace Zierden–  4 kills 2 blocks
Coach Engelking: “We were down 23-14 in the 3rd set and Kayla Nickles was serving.  She served us to 23-23 before siding out.  We ended up stepping up and taking the set 27-25.  The girls played well against a tough Pierz team.  We need to work on communication on the court and staying light on our feet.”

Great River Volleyball: FINAL: Braham 12-0, 20-6; Aitkin 9-2, 15-5; Onamia 9-2, 15-11; Rush City 8-4, 13-9; Hinckley-Fin. 4-8, 5-16; Ogilvie 3-8, 6-19; East Central 3-9, 3-12; Isle 2-9, 3-17; Pine City 2-10, 3-19.

Cambridge-Isanti rose to its highest seeding in recent memory with its stingy defense and power game at the net. The Bluejackets get a first-round bye, then will host either No. 8 St. Francis (11-15) or No. 9 Princeton (9-14) in the Friday, Oct. 25 quarterfinals (7 p.m.). C-I defeated both those teams 3-1 during the 2013 Mississippi 8 season.

A win that night would have the Bluejackets hosting the Wednesday, Oct. 30 semifinals against either No. 4 Forest Lake (14-12), defending 7AAA champ No. 5 Anoka (11-16) or No. 12 Duluth Denfeld.

In the other bracket half, Grand Rapids (26-2) is the No. 2 seed, and North Branch (19-7) is the No. 3. The Section 7AAA championship will be Nov. 2 at Elk River.

“Forest Lake has a very balanced offense and solid middles. Grand Rapids has played together for a lot of years; they have a great setter and rightside hitter,” scouted C-I Coach Vicki Courts.

Mississippi 8 Volleyball: FINAL: Buffalo 9-0, 23-3; St. Michael-Alb. 8-1, 17-11; Cambridge-Isanti 7-2, 20-7; North Branch 5-4, 19-7; Monticello 4-5, 16-11; Chisago Lakes 4-5, 12-15; Rogers 3-6, 12-16; St. Francis 3-6, 11-15; Big Lake 2-7, 12-16; Princeton 0-9, 9-14.

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