by Zach Johnson The Maple Lake Irish took on a feisty Rockford Rockets team at Irish Stadium on Friday night, Sept. 21. The Rockets came to town with a chip on their shoulder and were determined to upset the high-flying Irish. The game was a slugfest with neither team able to establish dominance for three and a half quarters. The Irish took the opening kickoff on their own 19-yard line and were able to move the ball down the field behind excellent blocking by the offensive line led by seniors Isaac Kotila and Ben Hudek, who keyed the power running attack. Senior slot back Drew Hanson streaked around the left end for the final nine yards and the score behind the block of junior wide-out Zach Johnson. Sophomore kicker Charlie Stejskal kicked the extra point. Stejskal again proved an invaluable asset as he was five-for-five on extra points. The Rockets took the kickoff and moved methodically down the field with a series of runs up the middle of the Irish defense.
by Elly Lehn The week of Sept. 17th through the 21st sure held a turn of events for the Maple Lake cross country teams. On Monday, Sept. 17, they traveled to Pierz for the Pierz Pioneer Stampede where they prepared for their run along with 14 other schools which included: St. Cloud Cathedral, Brainerd, Annandale, Albany, Milaca, St. Cloud Tech, Mora, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Pine City, St. Cloud Christian, Pierz, Mille Lacs, Braham Area, and Foley. It was mostly cloudy that day, with a light breeze and a temperature in the fifties. “Our kids competed very well at Pierz,” said Head Coach Ben Youngs. “In fact, that is the highest our boys and girls have placed there since we restarted the program in 2001. It also gave us a chance to see quite a bit of the section competition.” The varsity girls finished in fourth place behind St. Cloud Cathedral, Brainerd, and Annandale, finishing with a team score of 140 points. Halle Geyen came in 12th with a time of 16:06.
Game 1: Right from the start, anyone in the stands could tell that Becker didn’t seem quite prepared enough for what the Irish had brought over. Becker’s team had a solid outside hitter that seemed to be their “go-to” player. The girls saw that they had to shut her out, and that’s exactly what they did in the first game. The final score of game one was 25-12. Game 2: The Irish brought a lot of intensity into game two. However, the Irish had to create their own intensity because the gym was very quiet. With the Irish up by so many points, younger players got to see time on the court. With that, they took game two, 25-12. Game 3: In game three, the Irish wanted the third game to go as smoothly as the other two did so they could get home as quickly as possible to get rest for the upcoming game the next day. Anyone could tell the team did just that, they meant business. They performed very well the whole night in every aspect of the game and won the third game, 25-14.
On Tuesday, September 11, the Irish volleyball team was prepared to compete against a tough team, the Dassel-Cokato Chargers. With much focus and the ability to compete at high levels, the Irish took the Chargers down in four games with scores of 25-13, 18-25, 25-19, and 25-22. Game 1: In game one, the Irish came out firing off the spot. Every player served well, which is one of the few things of the game that the players can control. At one point, the Irish were up 16-7. The Irish only let the Chargers get six more points before the first game ended with a score of 25-13. Game 2: Showing that the Chargers weren’t going to go down easily, the opposing team started to wake up. Early in game two, the points seemed to sway back-and-forth. The Irish started to play more timid and were not aggressive enough. DC had an outside hitter that they seemed to go to a lot and proved to be the hardest player to stop. The Irish came up short in game two, with a final score of 18-23.
The Irish headed to Annandale on September 10 to take on a few new faces. Those faces included students from Big Lake, Foley, Maranatha, Litchfield, Annandale, HLWW, and EVWK. The meet took place at the Whispering Pines Golf Course. “We haven't been to Annandale in 4 or 5 years because of scheduling. The girls did very well against a tough Big Lake team and finished ahead of Annandale for the first time since restarting the program,” said head coach Ben Youngs. The girls’ varsity team placed second overall in Annandale, with a team score of 57 points. Halle Geyen finished in seventh with a time of 17:15. Mollie Graham finished in ninth with a time of 17:20. Sommer Carlson was just a second behind with a time of 17:21, finishing in tenth. Blair Stewig finished in thirteenth with a time of 17:40. Skylar Manka finished in eighteenth place in 18:00. Bernadette Loch came in twenty-fifth with a time of 19:20. Jordan Sifferle came in thirty-fifth with a time of 20:25.
On Thursday, October 4, the cross country teams took a trip to Litchfield for their only meet of the week. The boys may have been a little “off kilter,” but they managed to pull through and do their best. “Greg Dorow was out so we had to have other boys step up such as Danny Becker, Sullivan Graham, and Cullen Gallagher who all had personal bests,” said Head Coach Ben Youngs. The Irish competed against Annandale, Albany, Orono, Hutchinson, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Eden Valley-Watkins, Litchfield, Cambridge-Isanti, and Glencoe-Silver Lake. “We also brought some elementary students to run such as Mike Miller, Brianna Deringer, Peyton Tongen, Mikayla Koss, et cetera,” said Youngs. The varsity girls placed 4th overall with a team score of 93. Halle Geyen took 9th with a time of 16:09. Sommer Carlson placed 10th with a time of 16:12. Mollie Graham finished with a time of 17:00, placing 18th. Kayla Hoisted came in 21st with a time of 17:10.
by Rachel Latour The Irish had the challenge of having another Monday game on Sept. 24 against Holy Family. The Irish overcame the obstacle of not being used to Monday games and took Holy Family down in three games. Game 1: For being a Monday, the girls got off to a good start. Two serving streaks were made by both senior outside hitters, Shelby Rachel and Jen Puncochar. After senior setter Carissa Knott was done serving, the score was 20-6, then Holy Family had a little stretch of points. The Irish had a tough time passing serve, something that usually just comes naturally to them. The Holy Family Fire found a weak spot in the middle to tip which proved effective in that game. However, the Irish proved their dominance in game one with a final score of 25-17. Game 2: In game two, and throughout the night, the Irish did a great job of just getting a touch at the net, or even a solid block.
The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams headed to St. John’s Prep on Thursday, September 27. They competed against Watertown-Mayer, Hinckley-Finlayson, Rush City, St. John’s Prep, Christ’s Household of Faith, and Braham Area. The girls’ varsity team placed 1st overall with a score of 39. Halle Geyen placed second with a time of 16:02. Placing 5th was Sommer Carlson with a time of 16:21. Mollie Graham finished with a time of 17:03, placing 6th. Blair Stewig placed 12th with a time of 17:45. Kayla Hoistad took 14th with a time of 17:55. Placing 16th with a time of 18:00, was Bernadette Loch. Jordan Sifferle finished with a time of 18:25, placing 20th. Placing 23rd was Mackenzie Miller with a time of 18:38. Baylyn Riviere came in 24th with a time of 18:41. Jessie Wohlrabe finished in 28th with a time of 18:47. Skyler Manka took 29th with a time of 18:51. Kennedy Gorres placed 39th with a time of 20:00. Kelly Beissel finished with a time of 20:35, placing 46th.
The Maple Lake Irish traveled to Kimball on Friday evening, Sept. 28, to take on the Cubs in what was an important contest to determine Central Minnesota Conference supremacy. The Cubs were determined to make a game of it, but the Irish quickly took control of the contest after getting a feel for what the Cubs were doing. The opening kickoff was taken by Irish running back Drew Hanson who ran the ball back to the 47 yard line. However, the Irish were unable to move the ball. Irish quarterback and punter, Donnie Mavencamp, who had a stellar evening kicking the ball, pinned the Cubs at their own 10 yard line. The Irish defense held the Cubs to only one yard on three plays, forcing them to punt the ball away. Beginning at the Cubs’ 40 yard line, the Irish employed their power running game to punish the Cub defense. Two quick passes by Mavencamp to senior wide-out Bosten Fieldseth helped keep the Cub defense on its heels.