Maple Grove volleyball off to strong start

by Bob San

A dramatic come-from-behind win over Champlin Park highlighted the Maple Grove volleyball team’s week.

Crimson senior Erin Engel goes up for a spike against the Rebels. (Photos by Rich Moll)

Crimson senior Erin Engel goes up for a spike against the Rebels. (Photos by Rich Moll)

The Crimson dropped the first two games 21-25 and 20-25 before rallying to take the next three games 25-23, 25-20 and 15-8. The Crimson ended the week by winning three of four matches at a weekend tournament to improve their overall record to 6-2.

Maple Grove coach Monika Getchell is excited about this year’s squad because she welcomes back a large group of returning veterans. The varsity roster consists of seniors Erin Engel (outside hitter), Tegan Laberge (outside hitter), Laura Otterness (utility), Morgan Smith (libero), Jennifer Vangorder-Braid (middle hitter), Jenna Begin (backrow, setter), Kayla Crane (setter), Taylor Johnson (middle hitter), Laura Brixius (right hitter) and Amber Demenge (left hitter). Engel, Laberge, Crane, Smith, Begin and Demenge are all returning letter-winners. Getchell feels her squad can hold its own in the powerful Northwest Suburban Conference.

Maple Grove players jump for joy after clinching the dramatic 3-2 win over Champlin Park. The Crimson fell behind 0-2 before rallying to win the next three games.

Maple Grove players jump for joy after clinching the dramatic 3-2 win over Champlin Park. The Crimson fell behind 0-2 before rallying to win the next three games.

“We are excited for this season,” Getchell said. “I believe we are in one of the two top conferences in the metro, so it is a great challenge to prepare and practice. That allows us to continue to be competitive in our matches. Our team has great competitive spirit and work ethic, which makes going to the gym a pleasure.”

Judging by the win over Champlin Park, the Crimson indeed are a resilient bunch that will battle to the last point.

Tegan Laberge of Maple Grove digs up a Champlin Park hit.

Tegan Laberge of Maple Grove digs up a Champlin Park hit.

“We are excited to play against the schools in our conference as they are some of the best teams in the state,” Getchell said.

The Crimson next host Osseo Thursday, Sept. 13.

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