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Cardinals catch Raptors at right time, sweep

One team is learning to play together for the first time while the other school returns six players who either started full- or part-time last season. Such was the case when Carlton/Wrenshall hosted the first home game in their cooperative's history Aug. 31 against an experienced Cromwell-Wright team.

Cromwell/Wright swept the match by scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-17.

"Right now, we are just trying to figure things out," said Raptors coach Barb Soukkala. "We have

to be patient and try to fit everything together."

While Carlton/Wrenshall is trying to meld two programs together, the Cards are returning five

starters and their libero from last year's team which at times played extremely well.

"We return a team with a lot of knowledge when it comes to playing games at the high school level," said Cards coach Amy Granholm. "We're hoping to see a bigger jump this season."

The game was the first home game in Carlton/Wrenshall cooperative history and came just two

days after the Raptors defeated Deer River Aug. 29 on the road.

"Cromwell is a good team and we knew they would be," Soukkala said. "We are seeing improvement every game, but again, we are trying to make one team out of two schools so it will take some time, but the girls are working hard."

Cromwell/Wright fell Tuesday, losing 3-2 at Onamia.

"Against Carlton/Wrenshall we had a lot of players play well," Granholm said. "I like to see us

at 90-percent serving and we finished at 88 percent, so that wasn't what we wanted, but it was close."

No statistics were available for the Raptors in the game, but the Cards got eight kills from Jillian Anderson, six kills and 11 digs from Kyra Granholm. Katie Metzer-Korpela added 14 set assists,

Bryanna Foster was 11-for-11 in serves and Mya Gronner had six ace serves and was 20-of-21 in the service game.

On Tuesday night, the Raptors hit the road and played at Nashwauk-Keewatin and lost a tough 3-2 match by scores of 25-22, 23-25, 28-26, 13-25 and 6-15.

The Raptors had a number of fine performances including 10 kills apiece for Megan Matarelli and Jaycee McMillan.