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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Through a turbulent fall, the Red Wing volleyball team has shown glimpses of improvement. Against a struggling Hastings lineup in a non-conference game Monday, the Wingers showed some glimpses early on, holding a 3-1 lead in the first set. But showing promise hasn't been the problem this season.
By Joe Brown firstname.lastname@example.org LAKE CITY - There was plenty of motivation for the Red Wing girls soccer team Saturday as they took to the field for the championship game of the Lake City tournament against Winona. From a playing standpoint, the Wingers wanted to avenge their 3-1 loss to the Winhawks at the Lake City tournament last year. From a personal standpoint, Red Wing and head coach Dusty Beckman wanted to get a win over Winona, where Beckman was an assistant coach before coaching the Wingers.
After taking a 62-6 beating from Academy of Holy Angels in Missota Conference play Friday, Red Wing head football coach Matt Schultz was uncharacteristically short on words. Trying to describe how the Stars pulled away for the blowout victory, Schultz could use every adjective possible about Holy Angels' talent. "They're very athletic, and they are bigger and stronger," Schultz said. "That's a good football team." Since beating the Stars 13-10 in 2010, the Wingers have been outscored by Holy Angels 98-6 in their last two meetings.
LAKE CITY - Injuries have ravaged both the Lake City and Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa girls soccer teams. For the Wildcats, it has been a frantic two weeks as a team full of sophomores has tried to mesh together. "We've had to regroup in the last two weeks," said PIZM head coach Doug Weincouff.
Winning just two of its last nine matches prior to Saturday's home triangular, the Cannon Falls tennis team was struggling to gain some consistency. But with just two matches left in the regular season, the Bombers are getting into a groove after sweeping their home invitational Saturday and picking up a 5-2 dual victory Monday at Stewartville. At home, Cannon Falls opened with a 5-2 victory against Le Sueur-Henderson and a 7-0 sweep against Albert Lea. "It's always good to win at home," Bombers head coach Paul Norstad said on Saturday.
For the first 35 minutes of Tuesday's Missota Conference match with Academy of Holy Angels, the Red Wing boys soccer team went shot-for-shot with the Stars. But in the span of 50 seconds, Holy Angels dashed the Wingers' hopes for their first conference win with a quick pair of goals en route to a 5-0 victory at Red Wing High School. "We knew they were going to be a tough team and we came in hoping we'd be able to play with them," said Red Wing head coach Brian Quigley. "We went out and played a good, hard amount in the first half, but we kind of coasted at the end.
Red Wing girls soccer coach Dusty Beckman continues to look at the positives during the tough times. On the heels of the Wingers' 4-0 Missota Conference loss to Academy of Holy Angels on Tuesday, Beckman keeps looking at the positives from what his team did on the field. "We sat down with them on Monday and said, 'OK, this is what we have to do,' and I think that showed," Beckman said. "The goals they go, we can simply clean them up.
Trying to overcome injuries. Looking to break through the Hiawatha Valley League. Hoping to rebound after a tough double-digit loss last Friday. HVL foes Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Goodhue are dealing with all three of these factors as the Cougars and Wildcats meet up on the field at 7 p.m.
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.