Fall sports kick off in Lake County
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Swim team kicks off fourth undefeated season
The Two Harbors-Silver Bay swim team has a lot to live up to.
The last three years, the girls have gone undefeated in dual meets. That bears repeating: in three consecutive seasons, no local swim team has been able to defeat the Agates.
Coach Heather Mayfield said that, judging by the talent coming up through the ranks, she thinks the girls can continue that streak.
"They are really hoping to go undefeated again this year," she said.
The first meet on Aug. 26 was a good sign for the team. The varsity squad defeated Eveleth-Gilbert and, in addition, the young junior varsity team pulled off a win. The JV team hasn't been as successful as the older girls in past seasons, so Mayfield said it was a big deal.
"Everybody was super happy and super proud for them to pull that win off," she said.
There are 27 girls out for the team this year, about a half-dozen more than last year. Seniors Leann Fynboh, Mara Boulanger and Alicia Torgersen will swim for their last season. The team is heavy on 11th graders, with 10 juniors in the ranks.
Three girls -- juniors Marina Schreiner and Allie Mayfield and Fynboh -- advanced to the state meet last year and hope to repeat that performance. Coach Mayfield said a number of other girls on the team have their eyes set on the University of Minnesota pool, too, and spent the preseason lifting weights and running stairs before hitting the pool.
"They are just coming in strong and ready to work," Mayfield said.
The girls hosted Virginia tonight and their next meet is Sept. 6 in Superior for the Spartan Relays.
Soccer girls off to a strong start
After a tough two years, the Agates soccer squad is off to an impressive start.
The girls only won one game in 2012 and five games in 2013, but they've already tallied three games in the "W" column this year with wins against Heritage Christian Academy, Hibbing and Grand Rapids.
"They are strong all the way across the board," Coach Jeff Peterson said.
Though they had to work out some jitters, he said, the girls showed they don't buckle under pressure -- two of those wins were in overtime.
"Their attitudes are different," Peterson said. "They're thinking, 'Yeah, we can win.'"
There are four seniors on the squad this year, and all are captains. Alyssa Nieman, Briana Stuberud, Hailey Johnson and Samantha Dewey are all suited up for their last season on the field.
The juniors are also a force to be reckoned with, with 11 strong 11th graders on the field.
The coaches are trying a different setup this year, with a varsity squad of 14, a B-squad of 13 and a junior varsity with 19 girls. Peterson said he expects the varsity squad to be fluid throughout the season as girls on the "bubble" between JV and varsity step up to the plate.
Tom Szendry is coaching the JV team with help from Lauren Miller, and Peterson will be assisted on varsity by Two Harbors teacher Kyle Chalupsky and Joe Tietge.
Peterson said another good sign for the team is the distribution of talent. The JV team is strong, hinting at a good program for years to come. In the first three games, the varsity team scored nine goals, with eight girls involved in the points. The Agates won't be relying on just one or two players to get the points, Peterson said. He couldn't even single out the team's best girls when asked.
"This is one of the strongest groups of players, top to bottom, that we've had," Peterson said.
The girls host Mesabi East next Thursday.
Volleyball starts 0-3
The Two Harbors volleyball team lost its first three games this year after coming off of a 5-23 record last year.
The team is experienced with six seniors this year, but lost eight experienced players to graduation last year, including Polar League All-Star Claire Hoffert.
The team lost to Eveleth-Gilbert on Tuesday in three close sets, with scores of 27-25, 25-21 and 25-14. They also fell to International Falls and Virginia in early season play.
Junior Alysha Jussila had 11 aces in the E-G loss.
The girls host Cromwell on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Cook County on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Football kicks off against Hibbing
After a surprisingly successful 6-4 season last year, the Agate football squad is hoping to reach further, Head Coach Tom Nelson said.
"We had a nice year last year and did a lot of good things but I think we can improve," he said.
There are 13 seniors on the team this year out of a field of 46 boys total. Seniors John Peer, Jr., Kyler Kinn, Lucas Kempffer and Tim Bott will lead the team as captains this year, but not the only leaders on the field, Nelson said.
"We really view it as our seniors in general can all be quality leaders," he said. "We expect them all to step up and lead as well even if they aren't titled captain."
In advance of the Hibbing game, Nelson said he's looking forward to seeing how the team does with a strong opponent and hopes they can keep down the number of penalties.
"First game of the year, you're trying to minimize your mistakes," he said.
Their second game of the year will be at Eveleth-Gilbert next Friday. Nelson said he's not expecting any of the games this year to be easy.
"Everybody we played last year has gotten better," he said.
Nelson will be assisted this year by Ryan McIntyre (C-team, quarterbacks, defensive backs and special teams), Derrick Hietala (C-team, offensive line, defensive line and special teams), Luke Heikkila (defense), Bill Anderson and Todd Beck.
There will be a cross country update in next week's News-Chronicle.
TH volleyball, 7 p.m. at home vs. Cromwell.
TH soccer, 5 p.m. at home vs. Mesabi East.
SB volleyball, 6:30 p.m. at Floodwood.
TH volleyball, 6:30 p.m. at home vs. Cook County.
SB football, 7 p.m. at home vs. Ely.
TH football, 7 p.m. at Eveleth-Gilbert.
TH volleyball at tournament, Ogilvie High School.
Swimming, 10 a.m. at Superior.