Confidence is key for red-hot Cherry squad

Cherry's Haley Hansen and Mountain Iron-Buhl's Allie Negen battle for the ball during the first game of last September's match in Cherry.

CHERRY — After beating Bigfork on Sept. 28, the Cherry High School volleyball ran the table in October, winning nine-straight games.

The Tigers are hoping November is just as as fruitful.

Cherry will take that nine-game winning streak into Section 7A semifinal play today, taking on Cook County in a 7:30 p.m., contest at the Lincoln Elementary School Gymnasium.

In the first game, Carlton takes on North Woods, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

So what clicked with the Tigers after that Huskies win?

“It was a lack of confidence,” Cherry coach LeAnn Adkisson said. “They didn’t realize they were good enough to put the ball down, make good blocks and make good, hard serves. They were holding back.

“Beating Bigfork made them realize that they were a good team. They knew Bigfork was undefeated, so they knew they had to play hard to beat them. They went into that game with a different mentality. They wanted to beat them.”

That’s when Adkisson and her coaching staff knew the team had turned a corner, and became the team they knew they could be when the season started in August.

“That’s how I’ve seen the girls all season long but for some reason, when it came to game time, that’s not how they were performing,” Adkisson said. “They’re finally playing to the potential the coaches have seen all of the time.

“It’s great to see them put it all together.”

Cherry has been led by Haley Hansen, Kaelynn Kudis and Katie Peterson, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface as to why the Tigers have been so successful.

“We have amazing passers,” Adkisson said. “They can all pass, so that’s extremely beneficial. It makes or breaks a game, always. If you can’t pass, you can’t win a game. When they are focused, they make amazing passes. They do a good job.

“It’s not a fun thing to work on in practice, but we have to do it.”

Cherry has been the biggest surprise of the tournament, especially after knocking off No. 1 Deer River in five games on Oct. 27.

“We knew it would be a tough match because they’re a good, scrappy team,” Adkisson said. “We also knew how much the girls have stepped it up since the last time we played them.

“As coaches, we were confident in our girls as long as the right team showed up.”

Adkisson said she doesn’t know much about the Vikings, but they are 17-5 on the season.

Cook County has won 12-straight games, including an undefeated run in October.

Something has to give in this contest.

“I know they have a good outside, and they’re good passers,” Adkisson said. “I’m expecting it’ll be a good match, with close sets. Both teams want it a lot, so the team that makes the least amount of mistakes will win.

“We have to walk out there with the right attitudes, and know that every single point matters. After the last couple of games, the girls realize that every point matters. There’s no time of mistakes.”

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