Ella Johnson file photo 09-02-21

Elks junior middle blocker Ella Johnson keeps her eyes on the ball in this Thursday, Sept. 2, file photo.

The Elks travelled to Marshall High School and Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall for the two-day long Southwest Minnesota Challenge Friday, September 10—Saturday, Sept. 11.

Elk River (2-8, 1-0) left Marshall with one win and five losses. Elk River defeated Yellow Medicine East 2-0 but lost 2-0 to Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Friday, Sept. 10 at Marshall High School. On Saturday, Sept. 11, the Elks lost 2-0 to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton at Southwest Minnesota State University, 2-0 to Russell-Tyler-Ruthton and 2-1 to Litchfield.

Elks head coach Theresa Brummer said it’s difficult to explain why Elk River, a team that made the Class 4A state tournament in 2019, is struggling to win in 2021.

“We all know that we define a team by our wins—by our record,” Brummer said. “However, I often look through it through a different lens. We choose to play the toughest teams in the state. We choose to play the toughest teams in the state to become a strong program. We know that we are going to take some hits.  We believe that when you are developing a team, it is worth the challenge. There is a purpose in everything we do. We are early in our season and despite the losses, there was a great deal of growth.” 

Elks get first win against Spring Lake Park

The Elks got their first win of 2021 during their second home match of the season.

Elk River defeated Northwest Suburban Conference nemesis Spring Lake Park (blank) 3-1 for its first win since defeating Blaine 3-1 on Friday, November 20, 2020.

Brummer said the team came out strong, and, after getting complacent in the second set, “pulled it together and came across the finish line.”

The Elks won the first set 25-18, but the Panthers came back to win the second set 25-19. Elk River responded by winning the next two sets to win the match, winning set three 25-11 and set four 25-21.

Cotton led the Elks with 18 kills, while junior libero Alexa Melcher led the Elks with a season-high 24 kills.

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