Whole Lotta Volleyball *

September 12

*  Meaning 5 sets against Willmar.  If you’re 70+ year old fans sitting in a high school gymnasium, you seriously, seriously prefer 3-set matches.  So why did this match go to 5 sets?  Because they were mirror-image teams – they are both Cardinals, after all . . . 

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[During warm-ups, I recognized this official as the guy (Ted) who checks The Fat Boys Walking Club in at the Y every morning . . . ]

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[The usual hit-and-catch . . . ]

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[If the Amazing Mr. Ripley is there, it’s a big time event . . . ]

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[This was our first game in physical attendance.  The Cards are now 5 – 5 after this win (oh, by the way, we won).  So, I wanted to see who I could recognize from last year or from other sports.  Usually now seniors, such as Erika Roderick (2) and Ella Grove (11).]

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[And Mia McGrane (5), like Ella also a starter on last year’s basketball team . . . ]

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[Maggie Anderson (16) is a newbie, i.e., a sophomore . . . ]

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[Mia, though I was already aware of this, has some serious hang time.  I mentioned that to Brad, sitting next to me, and the guy on the other said, “Yup.”  As fate would have it, the next morning I ran into girls’ basketball coach Wendy Kohler at the Y.  I asked her what Mia’s vertical was – she just noted that she’s a terrific athlete . . . ]

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[Pre-game high 5’s all around . . .]

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[It’s the volleyball equivalent of football players banging their heads against the wall . . . ]

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[Our libero is sophomore Tessa McGrane (1).  An educated guess indicates Mia’s sister?]

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[Ella and company in defensive position at the net.  Either that or they’re covering Marcel Marceau trapped locked in a room . . . ]

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[Erika serving . . . ]

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[Though not exactly following the play at this time, at least the other 4 people in the photo are not looking at smart phones.  In fact, the one appears to have a bottle of wine?]

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[I suspect this is sophomore Lilly Thul (15) going up for the block.  In a totally unrelated matter, the gentleman sitting directly above the tip of her ponytail is Will, a fellow volleyball and basketball superfan.  The next morning I just happened to run into him at Glacial Ridge Health System in Glenwood.  I was getting all my skin tags frozen off; I have no idea what Will was doing . . . ]

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[Ted monitors the action as Lilly looks for the ball . . . ]

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[Tough!]

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[Mia elevates for a kill.  At 5’6″, I believe she was the kill leader with 18 . . . ]

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[Lilly and Maggie reset for defense . . . ]

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[There’s a ball up there somewhere . . . ]

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[Still looking for it . . . ]

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[Oh no, it’s behind us . . . ]

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[Get it back up to us!]

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[The linebackers . . . ]

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[Tessa, I believe that’s senior Meg Shercliffe (7) in the middle (also a hockey player), and Mia . . . ]

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[Lilly and Mia, again . . . ]

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[Looks like The Power I formation . . . ]

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[You go forward, I’ll go back, the others go left and right . . . ]

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[The McGranes . . . ]

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[There’s nothing in sports comparable to the joy and celebration of a single point in volleyball (OK, soccer and hockey, but there a point is a rarity) . . . ]

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[OK, go to formation X231 . . . ]

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[Now set up . . . ]

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[Pssst, I’ve stolen their signs.  It’s going to be a low and away slider . . . ]

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[As the Pointer Sisters would say, “JUMP!”]

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[Bring it on, you other Cardinals!]

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[Lilly serves . . . ]

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[Mia serves . . . ]

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[Erika covers another Marcel Marceau move . . . ]

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[While Mia keeps serving . . . ]

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[The first 4 games went 15-25, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25.  Our Cards had a 13-6 lead in game 5.  I took off my telephone lens secure that victory was assured.  But the other Cards made a run, so the last shots were with the standard lens.  The last game score is in the final photo.]

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[Finally, we won . . . ]

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[WE WON!]

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Volleyball: Invented by men, perfected by women.  ~  Unknown

Up Next:  Likely Norway

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