Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.
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CANNON FALLS - Cannon Falls head football coach Josh Hofstedt hates that his Bombers are referred to as a second-half team. But after holding La Crescent scoreless in the second half on the way to a 17-14 victory at home on Friday, Hofstedt softened his stance just a tad. "If that's what we are, I guess we're going to have to embrace it," Hofstedt said. "We play better in every second half.
ZUMBROTA - After an up-and-down match, you can forgive the Zumbrota-Mazeppa volleyball team and head coach Stacy Liebenow for feeling a little dazed Thursday night. Playing against a Pine Island squad with one win this season, the Cougars went from holding a 2-0 lead, to being forced into a fifth set, before ultimately coming away with a five-set victory in Hiawatha Valley League play. "Things started well, then it'd go bad again, then things would get better," Liebenow said. "It was one of those nights where you didn't know what to expect.
On the heels of its sixth straight loss after falling 3-0 to Winona Tuesday, the Red Wing volleyball team met in the locker room for over a half hour. One of the first points brought up by the Winger players: hold each other accountable. "I had my captains look at me and say, 'Coach, you can get on us a little more,'" said Red Wing head coach Heidi Ulwelling. Winless in non-tournament games this season, things did not bode well for the Wingers against a Winhawks squad that has not lost outside of tournament play.
In watching "a ton" of film in preparation for Friday's Missota Conference contest with Chaska, Red Wing head football coach Matt Schultz sees a completely different Hawks team from a year ago. The offense hasn't changed, as Chaska still runs a triple option offense. Little as changed on defense with the Hawks' cover-3 and cover-4 schemes. The biggest different is seeing a bigger, more seasoned group taking the field for Chaska. "The No. 1 difference is experience," Schultz said.
LAKE CITY - When good things happen on the field, the Lake City football coaches give out tasty rewards to its players. "On Mondays, we give out candy bars for good plays," said Lake City head coach Trevor Narum. After the Tigers' 42-33 Hiawatha Valley League Gold victory over Triton Friday, the Lake City head coaches may have to buy their candy in bulk. "There might be a few," Narum admitted. "Or we could take some away, too. There were some bad plays, too." Leading 42-21 with 7 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game, the Tigers looked as though they would cruise to a victory.
Facing a Shakopee team that hadn't lost a Missota Conference match since Sept. 29, 2009, Red Wing head girls soccer coach Dustin Beckman knew his team was in for a challenge at home Thursday. The Sabers won 6-1 over Bloomington Kennedy, then followed it up with a 5-1 game against St. Peter, Beckman said. "So I knew they were going to be very strong defensively and very strong offensively. "I told the girls, and I didn't beat around the bush, 'They're faster, but we have to use our strengths to our advantage.
After playing nearly 90 minutes of scoreless soccer Thursday, Red Wing goalkeeper Andy Tarr wasn't about to let a last-second goal get by him. With seven seconds left, a Shakopee attacker broke through the Wingers' last line of defense, leaving Tarr all alone to make a stop. As Tarr made a charge, the final shot went high, cementing a 0-0 tie between Red Wing and Shakopee, bumping the Wingers' unbeaten streak to three games. "That play was absolutely nuts," Red Wing head coach Brian Quigley said. When the final horn sounded, Tarr celebrated with his teammates after surviving the Sabers
CANNON FALLS - For a team coming off of its first loss, the Cannon Falls volleyball team left the locker room on Tuesday awfully upbeat. Facing Hiawatha Valley League powerhouse Stewartville, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AA, the Bombers gave the Tigers all they could handle before ultimately succumbing in three sets. Stewartville won 25-23, 25-19, 25-21. "Especially in the first set, we just really wanted to win because we've never really had a close match with them," said Cannon Falls junior outside hitter Carly Broze. "Even though we lost, we're all really proud.
Red Wing head football coach Matt Schultz knew Shakopee's offense was a matchup nightmare for his team Friday. "They're a team that lines up as a foot-to-foot wall of humanity," Schultz said of the Sabers. Where the Wingers tend to match up better, according to Schultz, is against teams in the spread offense, similar to what Red Wing runs. And coming up this Friday on the road against Farmington, the Wingers' defense hopes to find some solace in covering the spread. "We've been saying it for years, we match up best against a team that spreads the ball like that," Schultz said.
The Red Wing girls soccer team hosted a winless Rochester John Marshall team on Saturday, but Wingers head coach Dustin Beckman knew the game would be a challenge for his roster. With a rash of injuries, including a flare-up of a previoius tendonitis injury for senior Meagan Brown, Red Wing started a slew of bench players. "We had a couple injuries and that was a big thing," Beckman said.