The Maple Lake Irish football team traveled to Belgrade on Friday evening, Oct. 5, to take on the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars in an important Central Minnesota Conference matchup. The game was played in windy, cold conditions with some snowflakes in the air. In fact, it was cold enough to cause Coach Tim Knudsen to put away his summer shorts. The Irish were looking to extend their undefeated streak to six games, but the Jaguars had other ideas. It was a sloppily played contest with both teams making uncharacteristic mistakes that killed drives. In the end, the Jaguars were able to put together the game-winning drive, resulting in a final score of BBE 14 and Maple Lake 7. BBE returned the opening kickoff to the 18 yard line where they began their first drive. The Jags gained a first down by penalty, but were otherwise unable to move the ball thanks in large part to a big sack by senior Isaac Hendrickson. A poor punt gave the Irish good field position at its own 43 yard line.
On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Maple Lake Irish faced a neighboring rival, Annandale. With much focus the Irish brought the Cardinals down in three games. Game 1: Annandale started off with a 3-0 lead against the Irish. For most of the first set, the Irish were trailing by a few points. Annandale found an open spot in the middle of the court that proved to be effective. The Irish passed some tough serves pretty well that just might have brought them back into the game. The Irish pulled ahead, and kept the couple point lead until the end of game one was over, 25-23. Game 2: In the beginning of game two, the Irish were falling behind again by a few points. The Irish defense also covered middle tips better. At the net, the Irish were getting good touches on blocks, slowing down the speed of the ball. On offense, the Irish were just pounding the ball down. With a score of 16-12, Annandale called a timeout.
With all the excitement of Homecoming throughout the week, the Irish were more than ready to play against Holdingford on Thursday, October 11, for their Homecoming match. Game 1: To start off game one, Carissa Knott had a 7-0 serving streak. Holdingford had a couple good servers, which caused the Irish to have trouble passing serve. At one point during the game, the score was 16-8. Communication started to diminish though. All of a sudden, Holdingford was coming back into the game. As Coach Marty Kiebel said one time throughout the night, “Yes, it was our gym, but it wasn’t our pace.” At a score of 23-23, there was a high ball in the middle of the net, then a Holdingford player put it deep in the back of the court and they scored that point. The Irish hit the ball out of bounds the next play, resulting in a win for the Huskers in game one, 23-25. Game 2: The Irish came out more focused, and without all the jitters they had in the previous game.
The Holdingford Huskers visited Maple Lake on Friday night, Oct. 12, capping off a week of homecoming festivities. However, the Huskers proved to be less than gracious guests as they handed the Irish their second defeat in a row. The game was played in ideal weather conditions, but the Irish struggled to find their rhythm throughout the game. The game started well for the Irish when senior slot back Drew Hanson took the opening kickoff. Hanson started up the right side behind solid blocking by his front line. When this path closed up, Hanson cut back up the middle of the field and rolled 90 yards untouched for the touchdown. Sophomore kicker Charlie Stejskal kicked the extra point, and the Irish had an early 7-0 lead. The Huskers’ first drive began at the 37 yard line. Using a combination of sweeps and short downfield passes, the Huskers quickly moved toward the Irish end zone.
As the snowflakes began to fly on the morning of Thursday, October 25, the Maple Lake cross country runners had begun to grow weary. Some were excited to run in the snow for their section meet that was to be held that evening, but others just thought it would slow them down. Throughout the school day, the topic of conversation was anything and everything pertaining to the snow. But, by fifth hour, the voice of Activities Director Dave Schroeder came over the intercom, “Students, may I have your attention please. Due to the conditions outside, the section cross country meet has been postponed until tomorrow. Thanks, and have a great day.” The building was filled with a mixture of everything from moans and groans to hip-hip-hoorays! Some of the students were looking forward to running in the first snow of the season. “I was so disappointed when Mr. Schroeder made that announcement.
The Maple Lake Irish football team took on the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers in the first playoff game of the post season at Irish Country Stadium on Tuesday evening, Oct. 23. The game was played on a wet field, but the weather was near-perfect for high school football. The Irish took the opening kickoff and immediately began to move the ball against the Lakers’ defense which would, throughout the game, show its grit and determination. The Irish employed the usual pounding running game to move the ball, with an occasional pass thrown to maintain balance in the attack. The big play turned in on the first drive was a perfectly-thrown 30 yard pass from senior quarterback Donnie Mavencamp to senior wideout Boston Fieldseth. Mavencamp was able to keep the play alive, rolling to his right while Fieldseth made an excellent move to separate himself from the Lakers defender. The Irish drive was stopped by an untimely penalty, and the ball was turned over on downs to the Lakers.
After a very remarkable and memorable season, there was a gathering at The V to celebrate all of the accomplishments of the 2012 volleyball program. The night started off with a social, then the serving of delicious food catered by The V. After having time to eat and talk, the banquet officially started. Thank you’s were given out to everyone who had made the past season such a success. Then Leah Davis, the C-team coach, had a few words to say about her team and what they have accomplished. Following her, JV and Assistant Coach Amy Voigt also talked about how the JV did over the season and shared a few stories. After the other two coaches, Head Coach Marty Kiebel took the stand. As usual, he had a bunch of thank you’s to give out, then started to talk about how the season went. With a few laughs and even a little bit of tears, everyone was remembering all the memories they have made over this past year of volleyball.
The 2012-13 girls’ basketball season started on Monday, November 12. However, some volleyball players had an extended season due to making it to the state tournament for the second year in a row, so a few players received a short break and started practice that Wednesday instead. “As usual, the girls have given time and effort in the offseason to improve their game,” said Head Coach Adam Ronnenberg. “We spent time at basketball camps, spanning a little over two weeks, working skills and drills. In addition to camps, we participated in three different summer tournaments, but haven't had any team activities since the end of July.” After the first week of practice, the JV and Varsity had a scrimmage at D-C from 9-2 on Saturday which involved some good, quality basketball playing time. “The first week of practice has gone well and we have learned a lot about ourselves individually and as a team,” said Ronnenberg.
record-setting season was celebrated by the Maple Lake High School cross country teams at an awards ceremony on Nov. 12 in the MLHS gym. Head Coach Ben Youngs said the 2012 season will be remembered as the most successful since the programs were restarted in three key criteria: overall record, a conference title for the girls’ team, and for the first time in school history, the Irish were represented by a group of runners at state. “The teams did well despite battling a few injuries,” Youngs said. “Other kids were able to step up and improve.” Prior to this season, only Pat Pawelk in 1982 and Abby Thomas in 2005 had represented the Irish at a state cross country meet. This season Greg Dorow became the second Maple Lake boys’ cross country runner to head to state. And Halle Geyen and Sommer Carlson kept each other company as the second and third Irish girls to earn a spot at state. Both Geyen and Carlson will be back for the Irish, but the team will lose Dorow, a senior.
Two years in a row, the Maple Lake Irish volleyball team made it to the state tournament held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Maple Lake’s first match was on Thursday against the Caledonia Warriors who were ranked second in Class 2A. Caledonia defeated Maple Lake in three games. Caledonia ended up becoming the state runnerup right after Marshall who was named state champions. On Friday, the Irish faced the St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders and, unfortunately, lost in four games. Maple Lake Irish vs. Caledonia Warriors Game 1: Caledonia had two very talented tall middles over six feet. The Irish came out hot, possibly due to how less nervous they were than the Warriors because this was their first appearance at the state tournament and this was Maple Lake’s second. However, there still were a few nerves because of the atmosphere the state tournament brings. Maple Lake’s talking was down in game one. The Irish fell to the Warriors in the first game, 12-25.