The Faribault Falcon volleyball team opened their season against a very good New Prague team tonight before a large crowd at Nomeland Gym.  The Trojans had their way with Faribault sweeping them 25-12, 25-8, 25-15.  Before the game the new Video Scoreboards were dedicated in memory of Dave Jackson.  Faribault Sportsboosters President and School Board Member Chad Wolff noted during the dedication that Jackson loved sports and even though he was not a Faribault High School graduate, enjoyed attending Falcon games.

Jackson moved to Faribault to work at the Faribault Regional Center and after it closed elected to stay here because he grew to love the community.  When he passed away some money was included to be used to benefit athletics at Faribault High School and the first items purchased were the large Video Scoreboards in Nomeland Gym.

There are screens located at each end of the gym.  When introducing the starting lineups videos were shown of each of the players as they were being introduced.

Faribault does not have a lot of varsity experience back from last year's 19-8 team that finished third in the Big Nine Conference.  New Prague was also very young but took their lumps early last season before reeling off some impressive victories and finished 20-10.  The Trojans have two seniors on their roster.

The Falcons started the first set up 2-0 before New Prague tied the match and got into a groove.  Former Bethlehem Academy Head Coach Franz Boelter is the Junior Varsity Head Coach and Varsity Assistant Coach for New Prague and said it did feel a bit awkward entering Nomeland Gym Friday night.  His family was in attendance and the Bethlehem Academy volleyball team also attended the match.

New Prague was paced by 5'11 junior Sophie Andersen and 5'11 sophomore Tori Moe.  5'3 junior libero McKenna Vacek and 5'7 senior setter Chloe Davis keyed the Trojan attack.  Juniors 5'8 Kate Seymor and 5'11 Dani Friedges also had some impressive plays in the match.

Faribault does not have a lot of varsity experience back from last year and it showed in the first set.  The Falcons had a number of hitting errors and three service errors in the 25-12 loss.  Head Coach JoAnna Lane told KDHL before the match sophomore setter Payton Evenstad would be playing at a hitting position also and she is excited to see how this young team progresses this season.

There are three seniors on the Faribault team and all started.  Ellie Knutson and Brooke Flicek are middle hitters and McKayla Armbruster is an outside hitter.   Knutson and Armbruster were starters on the State Champion Falcon softball team last spring.  Armbruster led the state in strikeouts and Knutson played third base and was the fastest player on the team.

Faribault did cut down on their service errors in the 25-8 second set loss but still had a number of attack errors and the passing and setting looked like a first match for some young players.  Three sophomores and a freshman rounded out the starting lineup with a couple freshmen seeing a lot of court time.

In set three the Falcons had a 4-1 lead before the score was tied at 7 and the Trojans eventually pulled away to score a 25-15 victory.

Unofficial serving stats had Faribault with 1 ace and 6 service errors and New Prague tallied 5 aces and 6 errors (4 in the final set).  Sophomore Payton Ross had the Falcons only ace serve.  New Prague Head Coach Angie Andersen had to be pleased with the fact five different Trojans had ace serves.

The Falcons host Farmington Tuesday and then have over a week off before they open their conference season at Rochester John Marshall on September 6th.

New Prague came into Friday's match with a victory over defending Class A Champion Mayer Lutheran on Thursday night.  The Trojans home opener is Tuesday when they host defending Big Nine Conference Champion Northfield.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance Agents Faribault Players of the match were Payton Evenstad and McKayla Armbruster who paced the team unofficially with 4 kills and 3 kills respectively on a night when offense was hard to come by.

New Video Scoreboard in Nomeland Gym Faribault High School. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld