Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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PEPIN - The Pepin-Alma football team has zero wins against Plum City in three years since the schools merged. But this Friday the Eagles (7-1, 5-1 Lakeland-South) are the favored team, sitting in second place in the conference going into the final week of the regular season. Last season, the Blue Devils (1-7, 1-5 Lakeland-South) beat up Pepin-Alma 45-8 in Plum City on the way to an undefeated regular season. Plum City went on to the state semifinals before falling 14-0 to Catholic Central.
Each time Katie Stegora straps the bulky brace onto her left knee and jogs onto the volleyball court she is reminded that nine months ago the sport she loves was taken from her. During warm-ups for a home match against Cannon Falls on Aug. 31 last year, a stray volleyball rolled onto the court as Stegora, then a junior, practiced a jump serve. As she leaped, Stegora was oblivious to the months of hard work that waited once she landed on top of the ball. Stegora, now a senior, is still dealing with the injury more than a year later.
GOODHUE - The Goodhue football team shook off a slow start to defeat Kenyon-Wanamingo Friday night in Goodhue 31-7. The Wildcats (5-1, 3-1 HVL Gold) returned the opening kickoff for a score but struggled the rest of the first half, trailing 7-6 at halftime. It was the second week in a row Goodhue failed to score an offensive touchdown in the opening half. Goodhue head coach Tony Poncelet said he issued a challenge to his offensive line at the break and they responded. "We settled down and made plays in the second half," Poncelet said.
A late goal gave Chanhassen all the scoring it needed to sink the Red Wing boys soccer team 1-0 Thursday in Red Wing. Tempers flared in the physical battle between struggling teams near the bottom of the Missota conference. The officials gave out four yellow cards in the game, two yellows to each team and numerous other fouls were called. The Wingers' two yellows led to a red card for freshman Angel Fernandez, who will have to sit out the first round of section playoffs Tuesday, after an altercation with a Storm player.
The Red Wing volleyball team nearly pulled off an improbable comeback against New Prague on homecoming Thursday night in Red Wing but dropped the five-set match 25-21, 28-26, 10-25, 13-25, 20-18. On a night dedicated to breast cancer awareness, the Wingers (11-12, 3-2 Missota) fought valiantly after dropping the first two sets. Before the match, Red Wing head coach Neal Newman and the players gave a presentation for "Dig Pink" night.
ZUMBROTA - The Goodhue volleyball team was frustrated about not getting a homecoming game this week and took it out on Zumbrota-Mazeppa Tuesday in Zumbrota, winning in straight sets 25-15, 25-15, 25-15. The Cougars (10-6, 6-4 HVL) played on their home court but the Wildcats (12-3, 6-3) had the home court advantage. Hundreds of Goodhue fans made the short trip to Zumbrota and the added support helped push the Wildcats to a convincing victory. "The fans really stepped up," Goodhue senior Jenna Kohlnhofer said. "It's so much fun having a huge fan base.
Red Wing is the birthplace of one of my fondest childhood memories. When I was in middle school, my father bought a convertible sports car and took me for a drive to Red Wing. As an impressionable kid who had never been to the city, I was amazed by Red Wing. It was gorgeous with eagles soaring and the surrounding bluffs. My dad and I stopped to gaze at the landscape on Highway 61 and also got some cool treats at the local Dairy Queen, which I must say was another reason I looked forward to the trip.
ZUMBROTA -- The Goodhue football team marched the length of the field on its first possession Friday night against Zumbrota-Mazeppa in Zumbrota and it looked like another rout might be in session for the second-ranked Wildcats. On the 4-yard line, Goodhue handed the ball off like it usually does and the running back scampered into the end zone like he usually does. But the play was called back on a holding penalty and the Cougars stopped the Wildcats on fourth-and-gaol from the 14-yard line on the next play. "That was a big one," Z-M coach Willie Rauen said.
GOODHUE - Overcoming a roller-coaster second set, the Goodhue volleyball team defeated Lake City Tuesday in Goodhue 25-14, 30-28, 25-19. The Tigers (7-8, 2-5 HVL) played listless in the first set and the Wildcats (11-2, 5-2 HVL) took advantage - jumping to a 20-10 lead and earning a quick victory behind the play of sophomore Mikayla Tipcke and her sister, Erica Tipcke. Lake City coach Kim Bobb took two timeouts in the opening set, hoping to spur her girls to better effort. "I was trying to get them going," Bobb said. "We were just flat and we weren't moving.
The Faribault boys soccer team scored five first half goals and coasted to victory against Lake City Saturday in Lake City. The Falcons connected five minutes into regulation when Cody Johannsen found the back of the net after a misplay by the Tigers defense. They scored again five minutes later at 30:51 on nifty footwork by Jacob Kohl.