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Volleyball: Chargers earn big playoff win at home over CGB to advance to the Section 6A semifinals

The Brandon-Evansville Chargers (17-10) made the plays it needed to on Friday to earn a 3-0 win over the Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Bears in a Section 6A playoff match. B-E is now set for a Section 6A semifinal match against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa on Nov. 3 in Fergus Falls.

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B-E junior Skylar Bitzan gets her hands up to try to block a shot by CGB's Jessica Moberg in a Section 6A quarterfinal match on Oct. 28, 2022. B-E won the match 3-0.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press
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EVANSVILLE - Coming into Friday’s Section 6A playoff match against the Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Bears, the Brandon-Evansville volleyball team had won its last four home matches. The Chargers, who are the No. 2 seed in the 6A South bracket, increased their home winning streak to five with a 3-0 sweep over the Bears, the No. 3 seed in the 6A South bracket and advanced to the Section 6A semifinals.

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B-E's Grace Otto hits a shot over the net in a Section 6A playoff match against CGB on Oct. 28, 2022. B-E won the match 3-0.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“This was really fun and sweet,” sophomore Kylee Dingwall said. “The crowd really got into it and winning it in three made it more special.”

B-E head coach Kelly Olson’s words echoed Dingwall’s.

“This win was awesome and we had a really good crowd,” he said. “Everybody was loud and everybody was excited. This win is a program builder. It's always fun to earn one more match. And now our home season is over now we get to go to Fergus Falls. That's a big thing.”

The Chargers (17-10, 12-6 Section 6A) are set to face the top-seed in the 6A South bracket, the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars (23-6, 5-0 Section 6A), in Fergus Falls at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3.

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The Chargers and Bears met twice in the regular season. The Bears (17-11, 15-7 Section 6A) spoiled the Chargers' home opener with a 3-1 win on Aug. 29, but the Chargers beat the Bears 2-1 in a tournament in Browerville on Sept. 10.

Olson attributed Friday’s win to executing in different facets of the game.

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B-E's Sydney Schaefer (left) and Gretchen Bredberg (right) block a shot by CGB's Jessica Moberg (Blue, 3) during B-E's 3-0 win in the Section 6A quarterfinals on Oct. 28, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“I thought we did a good job blocking,” he said. “I thought our serve receive was a little off in this one, but with that said, we did a really good job in out-of-system sets. I think we beat them in out-of-system sets; that was probably the difference in the game.”

B-E won the three sets in three different ways. B-E jumped out to a 17-9 lead in set one and won it 25-19, while it came from behind in set two to win it 25-22. Set three was a back-and-forth battle at the end, but went B-E’s way 28-26.

“We just came up with a pretty good game plan and took things point by point,” Olson said. “I don’t think it came down to one particular play. We talked a lot about making sure we got our assignment, making sure we weren't getting lost, and moving on to the next play if the last one didn’t work out. This wasn’t so much what we've learned about them from previous matches; it was just more about making sure that we did what we were supposed to and then making any adjustments that they might have thrown at us.”

Unofficial stats have Dingwall as the kill leader for the Chargers with 17.

“She can hit from the front or the back; she’s really solid,” Olson said. “She's efficient in her swing, she's not trying to do too much, and she's letting her natural athletic ability carry through.”

In the Section 6A semifinal match on Nov. 3, Olson said receiving serves well will be huge.

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“The most important thing you can do is make sure you control the ball it's when it's on your side and then serve the ball effectively,” he said.

The winner of the match on Nov. 3 in Fergus Falls plays on Saturday, Nov. 5, in the Section 6A Championship in Fergus Falls at 7 p.m. against either Henning (24-5, 11-0 Section 6A), the No. 1 seed in Section 6A North, or Breckenridge (23-5, 11-2 Section 6A), the No. 3 seed in the Section 6A North bracket.

“We are going to continue to work really hard, keep our energy up and do everything we can to win,” senior Gretchen Bredberg said.

Bredberg said that good passing is key in matches, especially playoff matches.

“Passing flows our offense; without good passing, we couldn’t do anything well at all on the attack,” she said.

The Chargers are aiming to maintain their energy level in the semifinal round.

“We really feed off of energy. If everyone's down, we're not going to play as well. So it really helps that everyone's into it and everyone’s excited,” Dingwall said.

The Jaguars and Chargers didn’t play each other in the regular season. The Chargers began the playoffs with a sweep over the No. 7 seed in Section 6A South, Ortonville (5-16, 4-3 Section 6A).

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B-B-E defeated the No. 8 seed Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (9-19, 7-12 Section 6A) 3-0 to begin the playoffs on Wednesday and beat the No. 5 seed Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (12-17, 5-5 Section 6A) 3-0 on Friday.

B-B-E has won 11 out of its last 12 matches since Sept. 26, and its lone loss in that stretch came against the Alexandria Cardinals, 2-0, at the Runestone Invitational on Oct. 8.

C-G-B - 19 22 26 - 0 

B-E - 25 25 28 - 3 

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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