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Elizabeth Johnson had five set assists as the Verndale Pirates fell to defending section champion Parkers Prairie Tuesday in their season opener. The Pirates lost the opener 25-23 but tied the series at 1-all with a 25-19 victory in Game 2. The Panthers dominated the third game 25-15 and edged Verndale 25-22 in Game 4. Ashley Richter, Teresa Moenkedick and Kayla Graba combined for seven kills. The Pirates will host Swanville Tuesday in their home opener. The Verndale club hosts Bertha-Hewitt Thursday.
The 2010 season promises to deliver some strong individual performances by Wadena-Deer Creek's cross country team. Junior Neil Janson has been running for the Wolverines since the seventh grade and the junior harrier is now entering a phase where most runners deliver on their promise. "Neil has improved every year," WDC head coach Terry Olson said. "He definitely has the most speed and talent of all our runners and he works hard." Olson sees Janson emerging as the team's No. 1 varsity threat. Freshman Will Eliason has a good chance to be the club's No.
Paige Hartman's victory at No. 3 singles broke up a shutout bid by the Pierz Pioneers Wednesday on the revamped Wadena-Deer Creek courts. Hartman defeated Emily Seelen 6-3, 6-3. The WDC courts were badly damaged in the June 17 tornado but were recently repaired. The Wolverines will host Park Rapids in a 4:30 p.m. contest Tuesday and will entertain Detroit Lakes at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Pierz 6, WDC 1 Singles 1- Cassie Banick (P) def. Macy Hartman (WDC) 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 2- Jayme Sczublewski (P) def. Haley Anderson (WDC) 6-0, 6-0 3- Paige Hartman (WDC) def.
Girls' Tennis Pierz 6, WDC 1 Singles 1- Cassie Banick (P) def. Macy Hartman (WDC) 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 2- Jayme Sczublewski (P) def. Haley Anderson (WDC) 6-0, 6-0 3- Paige Hartman (WDC) def. Emily Seelen (P) 6-3, 6-3 4- Chantel Naill (P) def. Molly Barrett (WDC) 6-3, 7-5 Doubles 1- Erin Gritzmacher-Karissa Schlegel (P) def. Hanna Jacobson-Ashley Carlson (WDC) 6-0, 6-0 2- Lisa Langer-Brianna Funk (P) def. Abby Wegscheid-Sarah Najjar (WDC) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 3- Amanda Nordman-Kendra Fuhrman (P) def. Desiree Isola-Elise Kallevig (WDC) 6-3, 6-4
Susan Estabrooks-Anderson has been hired on a part-time basis to fill a parent educator position in Verndale. Estabrooks-Anderson, who will work out of the Verndale school four hours every week, will oversee the school readiness coordinator and has 36 students enrolled with another 10-15 students expected to enroll.
Tom Van Erp wants to see how his team fares without a gorilla on its back this season. The Wolverines snapped a 23-game losing streak in the regular season finale with West Central Area last October. The 1-7 team then gave No. 1-ranked Crosby-Ironton all they wanted a few nights later in the Section 8AA playoffs before falling 35-21. VanErp has eight of his 11 defensive starters back.
Keeping an upward momentum going will be one of the goals of this year's Verndale volleyball team. The Pirates took a good shot at .500 last season in their first season under Shelley Glenz and finished 13-15-1. They also won four of their five Park Region Conference games and rose from sixth to fourth in the final PRC standings.
With a team dominated by 14 seniors the future is now for Mike Mahlen's Verndale Pirates. Minnesota's winningest high school coach has had the talent to reach the Class Nine-man state tournament the past two years in a row. They lost to eventual state champ Houston in 2008 and state runner-up Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley last November. Now Mahlen is going after a fourth straight section crown with a team that is top-heavy with upperclassmen, but also a team that lacks last year's stable of returning starters. The Pirates have five starters back on offense.
Pete Tranvik will be filling the singles ranks with his four most experienced players as he takes over the Wadena-Deer Creek girls' tennis program. Tranvik, a former tennis coach at Duluth Denfeld, coached the WDC boys' tennis team last spring. He inherits a girls' squad that is long on numbers but short on experience. Senior Haley Anderson is back to play No. 1 singles for the Wolverines. "She has a nice stroke," Tranvik said. "She's a real steady hitter." Anderson will be pushed for the No. 1 singles spot by sophomore Macy Hartman.
The Wolverines managed to score two victories Monday in the Sauk Centre Quadrangular. Sauk Centre blanked the Wolverines 7-0 but Macy Hartman notched victories for WDC in 6-1 losses to Benson and Parkers Prairie. WDC's No. 2 singles player defeated Benson's Sara Rajewsky 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), (7-1). The third set between the two players was a 12-point tie breaker. Hartman was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Parkers' Jakki Sjobeck. Sauk Centre Quadrangular Sauk Centre 7, WDC 0 Singles 1- Laura Hintzen (SC) def. Haley Anderson (WDC) 6-2, 6-2 2- Kady Buschette (SC) def.