Jordan vs. Belle Plaine
7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 29

Two of the Minnesota River Conference and Class 2A’s most powerful programs always set up a heated battle, even though both might be rebuilding/reloading this fall.

Jordan (0-1) lost a long, five-set match against North Branch in the Breakdown Sports Side Out Classic Saturday. No shame in that result, as the Vikings are ranked in the top-10 after dropping down from Class 3A. Senior middle Meg Schmidt was an honorable mention all-state pick last year and posted triple-digit totals in kills (266), blocks (145) and digs (271) in a well-rounded junior year.

Belle Plaine may have been stung by graduation more than any program in the state, and also must contend with a new coaching staff led by Rich Foust and Sara Geller.

The Tigers lost three all-state players to graduation: Miss Volleyball finalist Mariena Hayden, who is now at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas; libero Elizabeth Johnson; and setter Danielle Taylor.

Everything is new for the Tigers. Junior setter Paige Narveson is one of the main players returning with varsity experience, although sophomore right-side hitter Mikayla Coops could quickly develop into the team’s go-to hitter.

Tuesday’s match against Jordan is the first of the season for Belle Plaine, a tough start.