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Tom Emanuel entered the season with plenty of questions surrounding his Holy Angels volleyball team. He appears to have found the answers.

The Stars have opened the season with 12 consecutive victories despite losing eight seniors from the 23-5 team of a year ago. They are ranked No. 5 in Class 3A by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

"It has been an unexpectedly good start to the season for us," Emanuel said. "Having graduated eight seniors from last year and only returning three girls with any significant varsity playing experience did leave us with a lot of questions coming into the season."

The Stars haven't lost a set in their first 12 matches, but their schedule will get significantly stronger the second half of the season.

"The back end of our schedule will challenge us," Emanuel said. "That will give us a better gauge as to where we are at and what we need to do to prepare for the section tournament."

Section 6 is also home to Benilde-St. Margaret's, No. 8 in 3A, and Delano and New Prague, tied for 10th. The Stars will play in the Benilde-St. Margaret's tournament in three weeks, adding to the challenge ahead.

"I continue to be really patient with this group but at the same time continue to build and grow their confidence each week," Emanuel said. "I know we have to keep getting better."

The Stars have only two seniors, captain and libero Kaylee Caron and outside hitter Grace Tuttle. Caron is the back row leader and tops the team in digs.

"We are young, but our young kids really improved this past offseason, and the leadership from our captains has been outstanding," Emanuel said. "Kaylee is a positive communicator and motivator with a great attitude."

Junior captain and outside hitter Kiera O'Rourke plays in six rotations for the Stars. She has 148 kills.

"It is a good group of girls that like to practice and have fun in the gym," Emanuel said. "We have good balance, play consistently and compete hard."

Sue Volkmann

Coaching milestone

Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball coach Sue Volkmann joined select company when she picked up her 600th career victory as the Wolverines beat Bertha-Hewitt in three sets Thursday, 25-9, 25-11, 25-18.

Volkmann became the 13th coach in state history to reach the milestone. She guided the school to the Class 2A state championship in 2010.

John Dzubay of Stewartville is first on the list. Last season he became the only coach to surpass 1,000 victories.

Timing is everything

North Branch's boys' soccer team has won only three times season, but junior captain Drew Detzler showed a flair for the dramatic in the past two victories.

On a rain-soaked pitch, Detzler scored with just over a minute remaining in overtime to cap a hat trick, giving the Vikings a 3-2 victory over Big Lake.

Four days later, Detzler scored with just over three minutes left in overtime as the Vikings edged Becker 2-1. It was his second goal of that game.

Detzler has eight goals and three assists this season for the Vikings (3-7-1).

Inside the numbers

0:03: Seconds left in overtime when senior forward Melvin Kamara scored, giving Eagan a 4-3 victory Thursday over Apple Valley in a South Suburban Conference boys' soccer match.

6: Goals scored by Spectrum's Maddie Fritel in a 6-2 victory Friday over Heritage Christian in girls' soccer.

8: Goal scorers for Anoka's boys' soccer team in a 9-1 triumph Saturday over Elk River.

10: Consecutive games in which Eastview senior forward Asher Ozuzu has scored at least one goal in boys' soccer. He has 22 goals this season.

15:44.6: Osseo junior Cade Sanvik's winning time in the 5,000-meter boys' cross-country race Saturday at the Tom Watson Mustang Invitational at Mounds View.

15:48.3: Rock Ridge junior Cameron Stocke's winning time in the 5K boys' cross-country race last week at the Paul Bauer Invitational in Grand Rapids. Stocke is ranked No. 2 in Class 2A by the coaches association.

18:45.6: Anoka junior Kaelyn Nelson's winning time in the 5,000-meter girls' cross-country race at the Tom Watson Mustang Invitational at Mounds View.

19:58.2: Zili Lenzner's school-record time for St. Cloud Apollo girls' cross-country, posted in mid-September at the Myron Ahle Lucky Lindy Invitational in Little Falls. She is a 13-year-old eighth-grader.

77:00: Time on the clock when Nick Holmberg scored his second goal of the day, giving Brainerd a 3-2 victory over Bemidji in a boys' soccer matchup Saturday.