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home : columns : joel alvstad August 20, 2017

10/30/2013 9:13:00 AM
State tournament berths at stake this week for Eagle spikers, Wolverine football

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

It all comes down to this: one week to determine who goes to the fall state tournaments and who gets ready for winter.
For the Windom Eagle volleyball team, the task is clear. Windom was seeded third by the coaches in Section 2A South. The Eagles were scheduled to face second-seeded Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial last night (Tuesday), with the winner taking on either top-seeded Martin County West or fourth-seeded United South Central Thursday in Mankato for the sub-section title.
That winner plays Saturday at Gustavus in St. Peter for a trip to the state tournament against the north sub-section champion.
The road for the Eagles certainly won't be easy. LCWM has 25 wins, and that isn't an accident. They have some talented hitters, a solid setter and a strong defense. An apt comparison may be the state-caliber Jackson County Central teams from the late 1990s and early 2000s that had a tall setter, talented defense and a stable of powerful hitters.
A likely matchup with MCW awaits the Windom/LCWM winner. MCW defeated the Eagles 3-1 in Windom earlier this month, while the Eagles defeated MCW 2-0 at the Jackson County Central Tournament last month. It's safe to say both teams have improved and evolved since that first meeting.
The top seed in the north is Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, which had some state tourney appearances in the early 2000s but has been building since then.
Battle of Wolverines
Another team in the area is playing for a second straight trip to the state tournament.
Mt. Lake Area advanced to the Class Nine-Man state football playoffs last year before falling 34-20 to eventual state runner-up Grand Meadow.
Grand Meadow lost 40-22 in the Prep Bowl to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley. CGB is the team now standing in the way of MLA making a second straight state appearance. MLA will play CGB Friday at noon in Marshall in a "Battle of the Wolverines."
CGB's ground game is powerful. It has three talented running backs and a quarterback who can do a little bit of everything. They run a wing-T offense built on their powerful line and speedy backs. The best comparison I can make for them is the 2001 Windom Eagles, minus two linemen.
MLA, however, has plenty of talent in their own right. They have an offense that put up points at will through the regular season and a defense that bottled up opponents. MLA's average margin of victory during the season was nearly 70 points.
Some people feel Friday's game will determine the state champion. And while the games have to be played on the field, I certainly agree that Friday's winner will be a decided favorite to be holding up hardware at the Dome in a few weeks.
On to Northfield
A pair of runners from the area emerged from a talented field to earn trips to the Class A State cross country meet, which will be held Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

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