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Badger-Greenbush-Middle River making the most of its first trip to the state volleyball tournament

Gators to open Class A tournament Thursday against Minneota

Kittson Greenbush VB 7.jpg
Badger-Greenbush-Middle River teammates Jade Reese (1), Cassie Dahl (14), Kenzie Dahl (7), Greta Lee (background), Hannah Bergsnev (background, light uniform) and Kinsley Hanson (6) celebrate a point during their match against Kittson County Central Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Crookston. Korrie Wenzel / Grand Forks Herald

It’s usually a big deal when small towns qualify for a state tournament in any sport.

And Badger-Greenbush-Middle River made sure to maintain that reputation as the school’s volleyball team got a big sendoff Tuesday for this week’s Minnesota state Class A tournament in St. Paul.

“It’s great to see small towns come together,” said BGMR coach Stacy Dahl. “I don’t think anyone can send off a team to a state tournament better than a small town.”

And the Gators received the royal treatment: They walked through a tunnel of elementary and high school students who cheered their departure from the school to the bus. The fire departments from Badger, Greenbush and Middle River made sure the bus got a proper send off as fire trucks from those towns escorted the team on the first part of its journey. And there were a number of fans who also cheered the team’s departure.

Following a Tuesday night banquet, however, it’s now all business for BGMR, which enters state with a 29-3 record.

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BGMR will open with Minneota, the Section 3A champion Minneota at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Minneota is the No. 2 overall seed with a 29-4 record. Of the four Vikings’ losses, two came against Mayer Lutheran -- the tournament’s overall top seed.

And there is some history between BGMR and Minnesota. The teams faced each other on Sept. 25 at the Minnesota Showcase in Burnsville. Minneota won, 2-0.

The three BGMR losses this season came in that September weekend showcase. The Gators went on to win the Section 8A tournament to qualify for the state.

“There were really good teams at the showcase and it was challenging,” said Dahl.

That showcase, however, may have helped the Gators prepare for this weekend’s state tournament, which will be played at the Xcel Energy Center.

“Minneota has a solid program,” said Dahl, who is in her 17th season with the Gators. “They’ve been to state and they’ve won state. We’re super excited to get another shot at them. We know we can play better.”

The Gators know what needs to improve in their second meeting with Minneota.

“We’re going to have to be better at blocking,” said Dahl. “But we have a balanced attack and we have a lot of options.”

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The Gators, who have three seniors, will be led by junior middle hitter Jade Reese and junior middle hitter Riley Gust, who lead the team in kills.

Kinsley Hanson, a junior outside hitter, has led the way in digs and Hannah Bergsnev has played well at the libero position, added the BGMR coach, who will enter state with a 277-183 career record.

All in all, the week has been special for BGRM.

“We wanted to make sure our kids got a chance to experience everything,” said Dahl. “The kids will never forget this.”

Minn. Class A tournament

Thursday’s quarterfinals

In St. Paul

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No. 1 Mayer Lutheran vs. South Ridge, 5 p.m.

No. 4 Bethlehem Academy vs. No. 5 Breckenridge, 5 p.m.

No. 2 Minneota vs. Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, 7 p.m.

No. 3 Legacy Christian Academy vs. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, 7 p.m.

Friday’s semifinals

Mayer/Lutheran/South Ridge winner vs. Bethlehem Academy/Breckenridge winner, 1 p.m.

Minneota/BGMR winner vs. Legacy Christian/W-H-A winner, 3 p.m.

Friday’s consolation semifinals

Mayer/Lutheran/South Ridge loser vs. Bethlehem Academy/Breckenridge loser, 1 p.m.

Minneota/BGMR loser vs. Legacy Christian/W-H-A loser, 3 p.m.

Saturday’s championship

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

Saturday’s third place

Semifinal losers, 1 p.m.

Saturday’s fifth place

Consolation-semifinal winners, 9 a.m.

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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