Champlin Park volleyball enters week 13-2
by Nick Clark
Sun POST Newspapers
The stakes are at a level perhaps never seen before when it comes to Champlin Park and Osseo volleyball, and that is only because of what the two clubs have done in getting here.
The two teams met Oct. 8 in a match that will likely decide the 2013 Northwest Suburban Conference champion, as well as the possible No. 1 seed in the upcoming Class 3A, Section 5 tournament.
And that’s all great for speculating, admitted Champlin Park head coach John Yunker. But, as his team prepares for the start of a grueling stretch to close out the regular season, the plan is to just enjoy the moment and let the rest of all that postseason stuff sort itself out later.
“We just want to have some fun with it,” said Yunker. “The girls know so many of those players from the playing with them in the offseason, so that always makes it fun. But, for both teams to be at this point in the season playing as well as they are, and the conference and section stuff, it is easy to get caught up with everything. We want to win, no question, but really we just want to enjoy the moment because this doesn’t happen that often.”
In this case, it has likely never transpired in this way.
Champlin Park comes into the week 13-2 overall and a perfect 7-0 in Northwest Suburban Conference play.
Osseo has yet to lose in any match, as the Orioles take a 16-0 overall mark and an 8-0 league record into the week.
Both clubs have beaten Roseville, which was a state tournament team a year ago, and both have also won matches at preseason conference and section favorite Blaine.
The Rebels victory over Blaine came back on Sept. 24, when after losing for just the second time all season in a match against Totino-Grace the night before, Champlin Park composed itself after dropping the first two sets at Blaine to rally and win 3-2.
“I was so proud of the girls,” said Yunker. “I would like to think they weren’t looking past Totino-Grace. We talked to them about that a bunch. But there is a good chance that they probably were a little bit, and we just didn’t have our best night. So to show up the next night without a chance to practice, we had to be ready to go, and they responded.”
Fending off that sort of adversity has been a theme for Champlin Park. Even after the Rebels other defeat, which came against Class 2A No. 1 Marshall, Sept. 7, the girls rallied to win two more matches that same day.
Chances are they’ll be asked to do the same at some point before seasons end.
The Osseo match is just a precursor to what the Rebels are up against the rest of the way.
They also play at Andover Oct. 10 and in a loaded tournament at St. Michael-Albertville Oct. 11 and 12.
Next week, they play at Armstrong Oct. 15 and then at home against Mounds View Oct. 16 before wrapping up the regular season by playing in a tournament hosted by Class 3A No. 1 Chaska Oct. 19.
“We have 13 matches in are last two weeks, and they will all be difficult,” said Yunker. “We have talked about how we might lose again, and that is okay. We want to get ready for section play, because that will be really tough. It is not just the top three or four teams. The section is about seven or eight teams deep this year, so this stretch should really get us prepared for then.”
Contact Nick Clark at [email protected]