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North Branch reverts to five-set approach to get back to 2A final

By HEATHER RULE, Special to the Star Tribune, 11/08/19, 9:45PM CST


The Vikings, tested by five-set matches en route to the 2018 championship, battled back to defeat unseeded Belle Plaine.

North Branch setter Paige Sheehan (5) hit the ball over the net in the second set against Belle Plaine. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

It took five sets this time, but North Branch will get the chance to defend its Class 2A crown.

The third-seeded Vikings, the defending state champions, defeated unseeded Belle Plaine 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-9 in the second Class 2A semifinal.

“Our five-game matches last year gave us some grit,” North Branch coach Mike Selbitschka said. “We had to earn every point that we got.”

After the Vikings took the first set, Belle Plaine didn’t let the first set balloon into a bigger deficit. Even when the Vikings got within a couple points at 18-16 in the second set, Belle Plaine finished the set with a 7-2 run.

The Vikings (29-4) got back on track to take a 2-1 match lead with plenty of kills from their heavy hitters, senior Cianna Selbitschka, who had 28 kills and 20 digs, and Paige Peaslee with 15 kills.

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