New Prague vs. Bloomington Jefferson

7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 14

A group of New Prague seniors gathered in the school's gym in mid-August, and the conversation turned to everything new in the coming season.

There's a new head coach, Greg Sayuk, who won a Class 1A state championship with Southwest Christian in 2013. Sayuk spent last season as an assistant to former head coach Angie Andersen, so he's not an unknown to the team.

There's a "new" class. While the Trojans remain in Class 3A, many of the teams who stood in New Prague’s way since its last state tournament appearance in 2000 have moved to Class 4A. That gives the team reason for hope and excitement. New Prague started the season ranked in the top 10 of the Class 3A coaches' poll and sits at No. 4 in the rankings released Sept. 5.

And there's a new conference. After several years in the Wright County Conference' East Division, the Trojans have moved into the more competitive Metro West Conference. This is the news that most caught the Trojan seniors' attention.

The Metro West Conference includes Chanhassen, No. 7-4A Chaska and No. 2-4A Bloomington Jefferson. The Trojan seniors wondered aloud what a match against the Jaguars and the Sieling sisters — right side hitter/libero Cassie and outside hitter Ellie — would be like. 

This is the Trojans' first chance to find out first-hand what that game would look like. 

New Prague has carried its high ranking well, winning six of eight matches and getting strong play from seniors Abby Molstad and Anna Molstad, junior Claire Baribeau and freshman Emerson Dillon.

Bloomington Jefferson is playing like a state championship contender. The Jaguars' unbeaten record includes a 3-2 victory over perennial power Eagan on Sept. 5. Senior Melanie Meyer and junior Olivia Opstad join with the Seiling sisters to give Jefferson (6-0, 2-0) a top-flight lineup.