Spuds – 3, Cardinals – 2 *

September 17 **

*  Another 5 game match!  Bradey and I are 72.  We can’t take this much longer.  We were almost comatose!

** Also the birthday of the Super’s brother Dan and sister Faith, though Dan is two years younger . . .

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[We arrived in time for our usual seats, whose sightlines become partially obscured with the arrival of the student fans.  Well, it’s their gig . . . ]

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[Here’s the loyal opposition, the dreaded Moorhead Spuds.  Based on the records coming into the game, the Spuds would have to be considered the favorites . . . ]

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[The home standing Cardinals were coming off a tough 1-3 weekend against Twin Cities teams . . . ]

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[Nevertheless, they seemed to be in fine spirits.  I didn’t notice until I processed this photo that high school classmate Gary Ekdahl is in the background (red shirt) – I understand he has a history with the Alexandria volleyball program?]

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[Number 2 for the Spuds is Claire Howell.  She is the state champion in the 400-meter dash.  Her grandparents are Alexandrians . . . ]

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[The Cardinals engage in high five practice as a prelude to match commencement . . . ]

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[It must condition the hands prior to swatting the ball around?]

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[Game 1 begins with the Cards in the standard ‘I’ formation . . . ]

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[Since that formation generally leaves wide portions of the court undefended, the players generally fan out from here.  The McGrane sisters (sophomore libero Tessa (1) and senior Mia (5)) at the end of the line discus where they are going to go next . . . ]

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[The game begins.  The aforementioned Howell grandparents are in the upper left – Ken in a black Spuds tee shirt, Jeanne in a red shirt (reflecting torn loyalties since their kids were Cardinals?) . . . ]

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[Cardinals Mia and fellow senior Meg Shercliffe (7) decide it’s time for a visit with teammates on the bench.  Meg is also a hockey forward . . . ]

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[Mia serves.  She’s also a starting guard on the basketball team . . . ]

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[Sitting in the background is Alayna Strand (in shorts), who I believe is a student manager and likely also will be a starter on the basketball team . . . ]

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[Senior Erika Roderick (2) serves.  Erika is the team’s setter, and as I recall is also a sprinter on the track team . . . ]

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[The Grandparents Howell engrossed in the action . . . ]

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[Keeping an eye on granddaughter Claire . . . ]

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[By evening’s end, I will have seen the Cardinals play 10 games.  This first game was by far the best I have seen . . . ]

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[A switch of sides, the high five hand warm-up . . . ]

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[OK, it was likely after having scored a point . . . ]

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[Tessa prepares to receive a serve.  Mia and junior Lexi Cole (4) prepare for the set . . . ]

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[Mia rises for the shot . . . ]

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[And then serves again . . . ]

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[Mia again rises to the occasion . . . ]

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[Sophomores Maggie Anderson (16) and Madi Heid (6) at the net with Mia in the background . . . ]

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[At 6′ tall, Maggie figures to be a force in the coming years.  She will be on the basketball team as well . . . ]

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[She has an all-around game . . . ]

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[Time for a team meet-and-greet . . . ]

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[And maybe a spot ‘o tea . . . ]

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[Meanwhile, back at the game, here’s Mia again . . . ]

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[She draws your attention with her all-around game . . . ]

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[But her athletic ability holds your attention.  She’s ‘only’ 5’6″ but she has a great vertical (meaning she jumps high).  So, she gets a lot of sets for kill opportunities, and I believe she was the leader in such in this game . . . ]

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[Our point –  but the Spuds won games 2 & 3 . . . ]

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[And Maggie again . . . ]

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[The dreaded ‘conga line’ formation . . . ]

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[Split!  I’m not sure how good this team will be by the end of the season, but I think they could be a tough out . . . ]

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[I believe this is sophomore Lilly Thul (15) and Erika up for the block . . . ]

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[Celebrate . . . ]

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[Celebrate . . . ]

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[Dance to the music . . . ]

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[Game 4, every bit as close as the score indicates (now that’s profound).  The Spuds went on to win Game 5, 15 – 12, and the match, but it was a good match from a fan’s perspective. . . ]

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[The current and future stars . . . ]

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My coach tells me to give about 75% to volleyball. If I give 100%, my serve will kill someone, and my coach doesn’t want to deal with the paperwork.  ~  Unknown

Up Next:  Norway is getting so far behind . . . ]

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