It felt like a long time coming for the Elks, who after 16 matches returned to Elk River High School for their home opener on Sept. 18. And they made sure they delivered in front of their home crowd, winning a conference battle versus Maple Grove convincingly by a score of 3-0.

“Maple Grove is always a tough opponent. We know that they are going to bring a tough serve, great outside swings, and scrappy play,” Elks head coach Theresa Brummer said. “However, we did what we do best. We were tough on our serves and anytime we let up on our serves, they were able to close the gap. But, when we got back on track and executed our game plan, we were back in control. ... This match was so much fun. It is great to have that level of play at home, giving the fans something to be excited about.”

Sarah Johnson had a team-high 13 kills and was followed by Kaylin Plautz with six, while Larkin Clem and Clarissa Hillary had 14 and 12 assists, respectively. Hannah Johnson led the team with three service aces on a night where the Elks produced 11 total. Defensively, Molly Bense had 21 digs, helping the Elks win their sets 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21.

“Our passers did a great job finding our setters. Larkin Clem worked hard to find Sarah Johnson, who shined (herself),” Brummer said. “Molly Bense continues to be a tough nugget on defense and our frontline did a great job of setting a strong block. Hannah Johnson is one of the players that stays under the radar and does the little things better than anyone else, while Kaylin Plautz continues to get put us in a great position at crucial moments.”

The victory closed out a busy week of matches. The Elks went 3-1 in the Farmington Invite with wins over Winona, Delano and Andover. They also took on Forest Lake on the road on Sept. 13, losing 3-0.

Up next, Elk River (9-6) was scheduled to play at Champlin Park on Sept. 20 followed by at home against Coon Rapids on Sept. 25.

Elk River girls, Rogers boys take second at cross-country invite

The Elk River and Rogers cross-country teams met at the St. Francis Invitational, competing against five other teams on Sept. 13. The Elk River girls and Rogers boys team took second place.

For the Elks, Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman led the girls team with a fourth-place finish (20:47) and was followed by Elaina Kuhnau, Annica Carr, Ava Grimm and Katelyn Gramstad, who contributed to the team’s 74 points. The Elk River boys took third with 75 points and were led by Lucas Gustafson (sixth in 17:59).

For Rogers, the boys team combined for 69 points in their second-place finish with three runners in the top-five, including Ethan Anderson (third in 17:47), Alexander Heidorn (fourth in 17:54) and Thomas Glad (fifth in 17:59). The girls took fifth with Anna Eich (ninth in 21:30) leading the way. The Royals boys team also took first place at the Big Lake Invitational on Sept. 18.

Up next, Elk River competes at the Milaca Invitational on Sept. 22 and Rogers competes at the Buffalo Invitational on Sept. 27.

Elk River girls tie Osseo, boys win against Armstrong

The Elk River girls and boys soccer teams each played three games Sept 13-17, with the girls going 0-2-1 and boys going 1-2.

The girls tied Osseo 1-1 on Sept. 13 with Abby Barschdorf scoring the lone Elks goal. They then went on to lose at Anoka 2-1 on Sept. 15 and at home against Robbinsdale Armstrong 2-0 on Sept. 17. Carmen Galante scored Elk River’s only goal versus Anoka.

As for the boys, they lost 2-1 to Osseo on Sept. 13 followed by another loss to Anoka 1-0 on Sept. 15. The team was able to rebound with a 2-0 victory over Robbinsdale Armstrong. Jace Donnelly and Austin Eirich scored in the Elks’ win.

The girls are now 2-6-1 on the season, while the boys are 3-4-1.

Elks tennis clinches spot in conference title match

The Elk River girls tennis team came away with a 6-1 victory over Centennial on Sept. 18, improving their conference record to 9-0 and clinching a spot in the Northwest Suburban Conference title match on Sept. 26.

Dee Dokken, Kaitlin Tran and Lydia Haack won their singles matches in straight sets, while doubles pairs Paige Anderson/Riley Mathis, Sophie Wetherille/Lauren Conzet and Leah Skogquist-Berg/Emma Anderson won their doubles matches in straight sets, resulting in the 6-1 win.

The Elks were coming off a 2-1 performance at the Eagan Invitational on Sept. 15, where they defeated Hastings and Winona. They lost a tight battle with Eagan by a score of 4-3. Elk River also swept Spring Lake Park 7-0 on Sept. 13.

Up next, the Elks have an invitational at home against Alexandria, Cambridge-Isanti and St. Paul Harding on Sept. 22 before playing at Wayzata on Sept. 24. Their conference title match opponent is still to be determined.

Royals football drops to 0-3

The Royals lost 21-7 to Cambridge-Isanti on Sept. 14, dropping their record to 0-3 on the year.

Cambridge-Isanti struck first on an 11-yard pass from Brody Nelson to Dylan Jones in the second quarter, but the Royals responded with a 2-yard touchdown run by Hunter Stull, giving Rogers a 7-6 lead at halftime.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Cambridge-Isanti scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, resulting in the 21-7 final.

Junior quarterback Easton Miller had a tough day, completing only three passes on 17 attempts for 24 yards and three interceptions. Ryan Kammers led the team in rushing with 101 yards on 24 carries.

Up next, the Royals headed to St. Francis (1-2) on Sept. 21, looking for their first win of the season. They then return home to play Chisago Lakes on Sept. 28.

Rogers tennis escapes Coon Rapids and Chisago Lakes

On Sept. 15, the Royals girls tennis team came away with a 4-3 win over Coon Rapids and 5-2 loss against Roseville in an invitational at Coon Rapids High School.

In the victory, Abby Johnson won her match at No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-4, while Samantha Stickler and Allison Hatcher also won their matches at No. 2 and 3 singles. No. 2 doubles pair Mariah Armstrong/Audrey Meyer came away with the Royals’ lone doubles point, which was enough to win 4-3.

Three days later, the Royals won another close 4-3 match against Chisago Lakes. Stickler came away with the team’s lone point in singles, but each of the Royals’ doubles pairs won their matches, clinching a victory for the Royals.

The Royals are now 8-4 on the year, already doubling their win total from last season (4). Head coach Geoff Basham said the team has beaten four teams they lost to last season and is on pace to finish much higher in the conference and section. He has big goals for the team the rest of the way.

“Our hope as a team is to get to 11 wins during the regular season and try to throw a big upset at Princeton with our last match of the regular season,” Basham said.

Royals volleyball wins two matches in last week

The Rogers volleyball team won 3-0 against Chisago Lakes on Sept. 13 and 3-2 against Mounds View on Sept. 17.

Against Chisago Lakes, Kendal Kemp and Ally Johnson led the team with 13 and 11 kills, respectively, while Amanda Bohnsack and Raegan Meskimen added 16 and 10 assists, respectively. Kam Fjellanger had a team-high 12 digs.

The Royals had a tougher time against Mounds View but came away with a five-set victory (18-25, 25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 15-9). Johnson led the team with 21 kills, while Bohnsack had a big game as a setter with 32 assists. Fjellanger once again came through defensively with 26 digs, while Kemp added three blocks.

Rogers improved to 10-2 on the season and were scheduled to play at Big Lake on Sept. 19 followed by a home match against Cambridge-Isanti on Sept. 25.

Rogers girls soccer wins big over North Branch and St. Francis

Following their first two losses of the season, the Royals got back on track with a pair of wins over North Branch and St. Francis.

Against North Branch, the Royals lit up the scoreboard in a 8-0 victory that saw senior Carlie Heinecke score two goals. The other goals were scored by Avery Farrell, Ella Wade, Isabelle Smith, Ella Frantzen, Sami Scherling and Breanna Schumacher. Wade and Scherling scored their first varsity point and goal, while junior goalkeeper Jessi Jordan recorded her fourth shutout.

Following a dominant performance over North Branch, the Royals continued their strong offensive and defensive play in a 4-1 win over St. Francis. Izzy Quintavalle scored two goals and one assist for Rogers, while Smith and Mackenzie Matthies added the other two goals.

Up next, the 7-2 Royals were scheduled to play conference and section rival St. Michael-Albertville on Sept. 20 followed by a road game against Buffalo on Sept. 25.

Thunder drops first game of the year against New London-Spicer

After a 2-0 start that saw the Thunder outscore their opponents 69-19, Zimmerman struggled on both sides of the ball in their first road game against New London-Spicer, resulting in a 49-13 loss.

New London-Spicer scored five touchdowns before Zimmerman quarterback Carter McEachern hit Jake Pool with a 5-yard touchdown pass at the end of the second quarter.

With a 35-7 halftime lead, New London-Spicer scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter. From there, Thunder running back Landon Berroa recorded the only score the rest of the way on a 9-yard run.

McEachern finished the game 9 of 16 for 100 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Berroa led the team with 47 rushing yards on eight carries, while Jeg Schottenbauer had three catches for 77 yards

Up next, Zimmerman returned home to play Milaca in their homecoming game on Sept. 21 before playing a road game at Little Falls on Sept. 28.

Zimmerman girls soccer picks up three wins

The Thunder girls soccer team had a successful six-day stretch, winning three games against Spectrum, Mesabi East and St. John’s Prep.

Zimmerman defeated Spectrum 5-2 on Sept. 13 with two goals scored by Danie Scott and Ella Kostrzewski, while Reese Rivers added the team’s fifth goal. One day later, the Thunder shutout Mesabi East by a score of 3-0. Katie Jacob scored two goals, while Madeline Dahl had one. Josie Rowley made five saves in the shutout.

The Thunder would lose their third game in three days to Two Harbors on Sept. 15, but rebounded with a 3-0 win at home over St. John’s Prep. Goals were scored by Kostrzewski, Karissa Heyer and Hannah Nelson. Gabby Weber recorded the shutout, saving all five shots on goal.

Up next, the 7-5 Thunder were scheduled to play Melrose on Sept. 20 followed by another home match on Sept. 25 against Little Falls.

Sting drop games to Zimmerman, Big Lake

The Spectrum girls soccer team hosted Zimmerman in a non-conference game on Thursday Sept. 13. The Zimmerman girls struck 30 seconds into the game and scored again within five minutes on their way to a 5-2 victory. The Spectrum girls, fighting through some nagging injuries and illness, had players plugging holes in new positions, but fought hard with a strong second half.

Eighth-grader Gabby Kappes scored two goals, and the strong play of senior Emily O’Connell at striker was a good indicator that the girls have a lot of fight left in them. Unfortunately, the injuries continued to plague the team as they lost their next game 10-0 against Big Lake.

Up next, the Sting was scheduled to play Heritage on Sept. 20.

Spectrum cross-country teams find success at Grasshopper Open

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the Spectrum cross-country team participated in the Grasshopper Open that was sponsored by Minneapolis Southwest and held at Gales Farm in Minnetrista. The Sting boys placed third behind Mound Westonka and the girls were seventh out of nine teams.

“We had an excellent day for both the boys and girls, which is not fully revealed in the team standings,” Sting coach Rick Peterson said. “There was some tough competition today, including schools from both Class A and AA. Six of our seven varsity boys set all-time personal records and every one of the girls had a season-best time. This was a hilly course that was made exclusively for cross-country. Matt (Helser) showed another week of steady improvement leading our boys and eighth-grader Molly (Novotny) had a break-out race against a few of the top girls in the state.”

The Spectrum boys varsity results, including place and time, were Matthew Helser (fifth in 17:27.6), Desmond Orton (17th in 18:07.2), Andrew Hattling (21st in 18:12.6), Caleb Rogers (23rd in 18:17.8) and Zachary Reese (43rd in 18:54.6).

The Sting girls varsity results, with place and time, were Molly Novotny (15th in 21:07.6), Martha Bergley (19th in 21:37.4), Makayla Harmer (36th in 23:19.6), Hailey Johnson (37th in 23:29.1) and Morgan Alders (42nd in 23:41.7).

The Sting will compete on Sept. 29 at the Griak Invitational held at the University of Minnesota golf course in St. Paul.

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