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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: Power outage cools off Northern Freeze

The electric company achieved what few volleyball teams have been unable to this season -- shut down the Northern Freeze. Northern Freeze was playing Red Lake Falls in the championship of the Frostbite tournament Saturday night in Warren, Minn. J...

The electric company achieved what few volleyball teams have been unable to this season -- shut down the Northern Freeze.

Northern Freeze was playing Red Lake Falls in the championship of the Frostbite tournament Saturday night in Warren, Minn. Just two points into the match, there was a power outage that ended the tournament.

Northern Freeze currently is on a 17-match winning streak and is 22-1. Its lone setback was to fellow Section 8A power Climax-Fisher in the Ada-Borup tournament.

The 22-1 mark "surprises me a little,'' Northern Freeze coach Melissa Thompson said. "I knew we'd be solid. The girls play a lot over the summer and work at their game. But there are a lot of good teams in 8A. We've won some close matches."

Success has come with a different look for defending section champion Northern Freeze.

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"We're definitely not as tall as we were last year," Thompson said. "We're not as dominant at the net. We don't get our hands on as many shots. We have to win more with our quickness, to outlast teams."

If there's a player who fits that mode, it is hitter-setter Molly Magner. "Molly gets a lot of digs," Thompson said. "She doesn't let the ball touch the ground. She's really a scrappy leader. I think she gets all the girls to play like that."

Thompson's team also is winning with more balance. Alycia Dahl, who graduated last spring, dominated the team at the net last season. Kinzie Magner sets the pace this season with 196 kills; Tori Davidson, Kaylee Davidson and Liza Hoglo all are sitting with between 95 and 110 kills.

"Kinzie can be a dominant hitter," Thompson said. "But we need that balance. It's harder for teams to have to defend several hitters rather than keying on just one. And the girls are playing together.''

Tri-County, MCC

plan another co-op

Northern Freeze is a co-op between Tri-County and Marshall County Central high schools. The schools co-op in every sport except boys basketball, and the school boards of the schools recently agreed to begin a co-op in that sport beginning in the 2009-10 season.

"Tri-County approached us,'' MCC athletic director Tony Greene said. "They're lacking in numbers. And since we're co-oping in everything else, it made sense.

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"There was some opposition to it here. For the most part, our numbers are solid. The feeling was that we could still field a team on our own. But they needed us; when we were short in numbers in girls basketball, we approached them about a co-op and they helped us. Now we felt this was the appropriate thing to do.''

Said Tri-County athletic director Janna Hjelseth: "It's a matter of need from our part. It's something that, from our end, we've been hoping would happen sooner rather than later because of our numbers. Our enrollment is dropping, especially in our feeder program.''

While the school boards have approved the co-op, final approval from the Minnesota State High School League is pending.

The co-ops between the schools "have been a good fit,'' Hjelseth said. "We've had success in a lot of sports. It's been a positive for both schools.''

Holtman sparks

Pirates' first win

As a starting slotback, Cody Holtman's biggest contributions to Crookston's offense have been as a receiver -- until Friday.

Holtman netted 129 yards on five carries as the Pirates registered their first win of the football season, beating Wadena-Deer Creek 45-12. The 5-foot-6, 135-pound Holtman scored touchdowns on runs of 28, 37 and 62 yards.

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Entering the game, Holtman had rushed eight times for 30 yards. But he had a team-leading 11 receptions, good for 237 yards and a touchdown.

"Wadena was packing its defense tight in the middle," Crookston coach Chris Trostad said. "We ran a lot of traps and counter plays. Cody is so small that nobody sees him on those counter plays when he gets the ball. He's a good, shifty runner. He's just a good athlete."

Big averages

for Mustangs

Midway-Minto running backs Ross Bolek and Ross Dunnigan had some impressive per-carry averages in the Mustangs' 32-8 football win Friday.

Dunnigan gained 90 yards on just two carries, touchdown runs covering 40 and 50 yards. Bolek had TD runs of 34, 42 and 64 yards, finishing with a 13.3 average per carry.

"It was kind of unusual for us," M-M coach Dennis Horner said. "We didn't expect the plays they were running to be the ones that would be the big gainers. Bolek had simple dives off the line and it broke open so he wound up going the distance. Dunnigan had two counters that broke open. They were able to get outside and they were gone."

Ness faces

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tough defense

Roseau's Abby Ness is defending Section 8A singles champion and is the No. 1 seed entering the Section 8A tennis tournament Friday and Saturday in Sartell. But repeating as champion won't be automatic for the sophomore.

Seeded second, third and fourth, respectively, are Crookston's Hayley Myrold, East Grand Forks Senior High's Jessamy Jones and Thief River Falls' Carli Sandahl. Each of them have beaten Ness this season. Ness is 16-6, with her other three losses to Class AA opponents.

"There are four or potentially five possible champions in singles in the section. And it's probably the same in doubles," Roseau coach Jack Swanson said. "It's a pretty wide open field."

Working in Ness' favor is that her overall game has improved from last season.

"She's taller and physically stronger," Swanson said. "Her court coverage has improved form last year. Abby's always had strong strokes. And she's been more consistent than she was last year. If she plays well, we feel she should win."

The top two finishers in singles and doubles qualify for the state tournament. A new section doubles champion is assured, as Myrold and 2008 Crookston graduate Molly Simmons won the doubles title last season.

Mary Kading and Mindy Lawrence of Park Rapids are the No. 1 seed in doubles.

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LOW strikes

from long range

Lake of the Woods had two touchdowns that covered more than 45 yards in its first five football games. The Bears had double that total Friday.

In a 28-18 win against Pine River-Backus, the four Bears scores came on a 50-yard pass reception by Josh Smart, a 50-yard run by Jalen Stay and Cody Hasbargen scoring twice, on a 50-yard run and a 54-yard reception.

"We don't get that kind of distance on our plays very often," Lake of the Woods coach Mark Nohner said. "We don't have a lot of breakaway speed. I don't know why it all happened like it did (against PR-B)."

One possible reason, Nohner said, is that Hasbargen -- formerly strictly a tight end -- is splitting time between tailback and tight end.

"Cody's the kid on our team who has the speed to break big plays," Nohner said.

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .

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