Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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The Minnesota Department of Natural resources recently released information from its 2016-2017 wolf survey that said the state's wolf population has increased 25 percent since the 2015-2016 survey. Locally, some hunters within Douglas and Otter Tail Counties have talked about an increase in wolf sightings for a few years now. In 1979, a map of the wolf range showed that consistently established packs were limited to the far northern part of Minnesota. That range has continued to move south since then.
The Brandon-Evansville volleyball team had a two-match winning streak snapped on Monday night as a now 7-11 Rothsay team won a five setter on its home court. "We just couldn't seem to get out of our own way," B-E head coach Kelly Olson said. "Too many unforced errors at the net, coupled with poor coverage cost us the match. Each kid played hard, but they seemed to play their own match instead of consistently working as a unit out there."
The Alexandria girls soccer team dropped its sixth straight game on Monday night as a defensive-minded St. Cloud Cathedral program came to town and left with a 1-0 win. The only goal came 14 minutes into the game when the Crusaders' pressure caused a turnover that led to a foul in the penalty area. Lauren Cumming made it hurt as she found the back of the net on the penalty kick against Alexandria keeper Sophia Vinje. "Both team's defense was strong throughout the night, limiting the offensive opportunities," Alexandria head coach Tom Roos said.
CROSS COUNTRY Osakis at Sauk Centre, 4:30 p.m. VOLLEYBALL Alexandria vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7 p.m. Osakis at Browerville-EV, 7:30 p.m. Brandon-Evansville at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. Ashby, 7:15 p.m. WCA at Rothsay, 7:30 p.m.
The Alexandria Blizzard got its second win of the season on Saturday night and it came in an overtime battle at New Ulm. The two West Division teams were tied at four apiece after three periods. That set up a game-winner for Blizzard newcomer Peter Johnson just 18 seconds into the extra session. It was one of two goals on the night for the Dalton native. Alexandria (2-2) led 2-1 after the first period, thanks to Johnson's first goal and another by Josiah Roen that came shorthanded.
GIRLS SOCCER Alexandria vs. St. Cloud Cathedral, 7 p.m. VOLLEYBALL Osakis vs. Holdingford, 7:30 p.m. Brandon-Evansville at Rothsay, 7:15 p.m. TENNIS Osakis vs. Benson, 4 p.m.
The West Central Area football team played in front of a big homecoming crowd on Saturday afternoon, but those fans saw an impressive showing by a talented Pillager team.
Alexandria 36, St. Cloud Tech 27 Brandon-Evansville 44, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 0 Sauk Centre 28, Osakis 14 Minnewaska 35, Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta 7 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 48, Parkers Prairie 37
The Alexandria football team needed to find a way to extend its final drive on Friday night. A couple first downs would do. Anything to not give St. Cloud Tech the ball back after the Tigers scored two touchdowns in less than a minute to get within two points. “They had three timeouts left at that point,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said. “That game was still very much in the balance. We had to put it away.”
Alexandria's Cameron Rice gathered the ball near the left sideline on Tuesday as he held off a Sartell defender and waited just a second to let the play develop. By now, he knows exactly who will be shooting in front of the net. Michael Kuhn beat his defender to the box as Rice sent a perfect pass into him that Kuhn headed in to tie the game at one apiece against perennial section and Central Lakes Conference power Sartell-St. Stephen.