Grand Rapids vs. Greenway

7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19

Hammer isn’t a bad name for a volleyball player. And Vekich is something of a legendary name, too — at least when it comes to star Iron Range athletes. Don’t be fooled, though, Greenway (10-0, 4-0) isn’t just a collection of names. These girls have game.

Iron Range Conference leader Greenway has swept all but one of its 10 opponents — the lone aberration coming on Oct. 27 in a 3-1 triumph over Hermantown. Senior outside hitter Claire Vekich is the No. 6-1A Raiders’ kill leader (143), a Ms. Volleyball candidate and easily one of the top players in northern Minnesota. Sophomore Lexi Hammer, ironically, is a standout setter (180 assists).

Just 8.4 miles separate the Greenway and Grand Rapids (9-1, 4-1) high schools, two of the biggest rivals you’ll find in northern Minnesota despite a sizable disparity in enrollment (Grand Rapids has around 1,000 students; Greenway has roughly 250).

The Thunderhawks’ lone loss, a 3-1 setback, came against Hermantown on Oct. 22. They get stellar all-around play from freshman Braya LaPlant, who had 10 kills in the defeat to Hermantown.