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 West Central Area volleyball team fell at New York Mills on Tuesday by dropping three straight sets to the Eagles. New York Mills (2-0) won 25-20, 25-11 and 25-18. The Knights fell to 1-1 with the loss. "It was a hard-fought battle with games one and three being tight ones," WCA head coach Amy Linn said. "In game two, we just made too many errors to compete with a tough NYM team. We head back into the gym tomorrow to fine tune our defense and tighten up our serve receive."
The Alexandria girls tennis team couldn't find enough momentum in the singles lineup on Tuesday as Willmar took three of those four spots en route to a 4-3 win. Rachel Bitzan got Alexandria's lone win in singles with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at the fourth spot. It was her seventh straight win and seventh in eight tries at fourth singles. Willmar's Cayle Hovland, Jordyn Swoboda and Chloe Hansen all won in straight sets at the first three spots.
The Alexandria volleyball team couldn't sustain an early advantage on Tuesday night as Willmar came to town and left with a 3-1 win in the Central Lakes Conference. Alexandria (2-5, 0-2 CLC) won the first set 25-18 only to watch Willmar (3-0, 2-0 CLC) respond with 25-12, 25-22 and 25-21 wins over the next three sets to close things out. Willmar was paced by three players with double-digit kills in Sydney Olson (12), Caitlin Ogdahl (11) and Carly Wendel (10).
The Alexandria boys soccer team has had a nice start to the season but ran into a now 4-2 Willmar squad in a 3-0 loss on Tuesday night. Willmar jumped out with a 2-0 lead by the break after Blake Hisken scored in the 20th minute and Vicente Cisneros added another in the 33rd. Hisken scored his second goal of the night in the 61st minute. That's all Willmar needed with Zach Courtney in goal. Courtney had five saves. Alexandria's Justin Balcome faced 13 shots and turned aside 10 of those.
The Alexandria girls soccer team was in need of a win after four straight losses to start the season, and the Cardinals got it behind a big night from a young goaltender on Tuesday. It was a night of firsts for seventh grader Sophia Vinje in net. It was her first varsity win and first shutout after securing a 1-0 victory over Willmar. It also came with her older brother, Alexandria native David Vinje, coaching on the opposing sideline.
To say Alexandria's Nick Tvrdik and Scott Walker had a weekend to remember on the waters of Cass Lake this past Friday and Saturday would be an understatement. Tvrdik, a native of Alexandria, and Walker, who works at Adam's Seed out of Wendell but owns property on Lobster Lake, might have been the most inexperienced duo of the nearly 100 teams during the final stop of the Pro Musky Tournament Trail Aug. 25-26 on Cass Lake.
The Minnesota DNR released its August roadside survey results on Monday with the state's pheasant index down 26 percent from a year ago and a loss of habitat continuing to take its toll.
The Alexandria volleyball team came back from the annual Eden Prairie Tournament on Saturday with a 2-2 record. The Cardinals lost in three sets to Minnetonka (25-9, 22-25, 15-6) and to Hill Murray (25-16, 25-23) in two, but ousted Buffalo (25-16, 26-24) and Cambridge-Isanti (25-17, 25-13) in two sets themselves. Alexandria totaled 69 kills in the four matches. Kendra Hardy and McKenzie Duwenhoegger each had 22 of those to lead the way at the net. Hardy also added a team-leading six blocks, while sophomore setter Erika Roderick set up her hitters with 69 assists.
VOLLEYBALL Alexandria vs. Willmar, 7 p.m. Osakis vs. LPGE, 7:30 p.m. Brandon-Evansville @ Hillcrest, 7:15 p.m. Ashby vs. Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. West Central Area @ New York Mills, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. BOLD GIRLS TENNIS
The Osakis football team jumped on Browerville-Eagle Valley from the first quarter on, and the Tigers never had an answer on Friday night. These two teams have a long history with each other, but the move to districts and Osakis jumping to Class AA have pushed them off each other's schedules in recent years. Browerville-Eagle Valley was 9-4 in 2016 and made it to the Class A state tournament. The Tigers were no match for the Silverstreaks on Friday in the opener as Osakis won a 33-6 game.