AREA NOTEBOOK: KCC, Fosston volleyball teams prepare for second rematch in significant setting

When Fosston beat Kittson County Central in three sets in an early-season volleyball tournament, Tina Turn saw a second rematch in a more significant setting.

When Fosston beat Kittson County Central in three sets in an early-season volleyball tournament, Tina Turn saw a second rematch in a more significant setting.

“I told the girls at the time that I thought we would have a chance to play them again down the road,” Turn, the Kittson County Central coach, said. “It was just a gut feeling. But I thought it could come down to us two meeting again in the section championship.”

The KCC coach was correct. On Friday, the teams play at 7:30 p.m. at Minnesota-Crookston in the Section 8A championship match with a Minnesota state tournament berth on the line. The winner inherits the title won by Win-E-Mac for the past four seasons.

Since that first meeting, KCC fine-tuned while Fosston has adjusted.

Senior Elizabeth Olson, one of the Greyhounds’ top hitters, was lost for the season since Fosston played KCC.


“Elizabeth was a strong player for us,” Fosston coach Sarah Dryburgh said. “Our other hitters had to become more aggressive. Abby Swanson can really put the ball down. She’s a big threat. All the girls have contributed, so we’re pretty balanced.”

Swanson leads the 21-10 Greyhounds with 388 kills. Camille Hagen (131 kills), Kylie Sollie (115 kills) and setter/rightside hitter Emily Curfman (135 kills) have contributed to that balance at the net. Curfman (452 assists) shares setting duties with Kailey Carlin (359 assists). Libero Noelle Dufault (344 digs) leads the defense.

“Our defense has been strong all year,” Dryburgh said. “It’s been hard for teams to put the ball on the floor against us.”

Kittson County Central, which is 23-7 and has only one loss to a Class A opponent, is similar in that it has a strong defense led by a standout libero. Macy Westerberg fills that role.

The Bearcats have a strong one-two hitting combination in Nichole Kraska (216 kills) and Katie Coffield (227 kills). Hope Sele (116 kills), Lexi Peterson (110 kills), Nannie Peterson (109 kills) and setter Lexi Turn (115 kills, 766 assists) add hitting depth.

“We’ve always been very defense-oriented,” Tina Turn said. “This year, we’re more balanced. There isn’t a rotation where we don’t have somebody at the net who can put up a big swing.”

Title towns

Both Fosston and Kittson County Central are pursing multiple section titles this week.


In Fargo today, Fosston plays Mahnomen for the Section 8A football title, while Kittson County Central meets Win-E-Mac for the Section 8 9-man football championship.

“It makes for a more exciting atmosphere,” Dryburgh said. “With everybody doing well, there’s a real energy in the school.”

Prowlers rebuild well

With a largely new-look lineup, Thief River Falls is in the Section 8AA volleyball championship match for the fourth straight season.

After beating Roseau in the North subsection final, the Prowlers meet Perham at 7 p.m. Saturday at Crookston High School in the 8AA final. Thief River Falls was section runner-up last season after winning the title in 2012.

Meleah Biermaier and Madison Brekke are the only players back who had more than 100 kills last season. Biermaier (336 kills) and Emily Bergland (219 kills) have become a one-two scoring punch at the net, with Brekke and Jennicca Leier also being solid options.

Leier, Mikki Erickson, Jennicca Leier, Mattlyn Erickson (784 assists), Abbie Olson and Alexee Nelson round out the regular rotation. None of those six were key contributors last season.

“We had a long way to go at the start of the season,” first-year head coach Kerri Wichael said. “We had a lot of girls who had almost zero varsity experience. And it showed while we were trying to figure out a lineup. But the girls worked hard and, after a while, we clicked.”


The strength of the team is at the net.

“We always have a go-to hitter up there,” Wichael said. “Meleah is an incredible hitter and Emily has really become a force. She wasn’t used much as a hitter last season. And Madison is a force with her blocking.”

The Prowlers have played Perham once this season, when they split a pair of sets in a tournament.

Carlson shoots for top 10

Football and volleyball aren’t the only sports going strong at Fosston. Senior Marissa Carlson is coming off a Section 8A girls cross country championship and will compete in the state meet Saturday in Northfield.

“I think she’ll be in the top 20 and, hopefully, she’ll get in the top 10,” Bagley-Fosston coach Sean Peterson said.

Carlson is ranked 10th in the latest state Class A coaches’ poll. This will be her fifth appearance at the state meet. Her best showing was last season, when Carlson placed 46th.

Carlson has only won four of the 11 races in which she’s competed this season. But the competition has included 2012 section champion Ellie Nelson of Roseau, a strong Grand Forks Central team led by North Dakota state champion Karly Ackley and the Swain meet in Duluth, one of Minnesota’s biggest meets.


“Marissa always has had good competition,” Peterson said. “She’s been pushed in every race. She’s definitely come on strong at the end of the year. I think she’s better because of the competition.

“Marissa and Ellie Nelson have become good rivals. They push each other all the time. I’m hoping that pays off now.”

Other area qualifiers in the Class A state meet include:

  •   Girls: Nelson; Katherine Geist, Crookston; and Emma Brunelle, Warroad.
  •   Boys: Zach Heppner, Warroad; Weston Nelson, Roseau; and Hunter Stai, Bagley-Fosston.

DeVillers reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1128, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1128 or send e-mail to

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