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Freeze athletes, coaches look forward to different season: Both teams to begin regular season action

Freeze Volleyball player Brooke Glad gets in her stance as she prepares to bump the ball during a passing drill at a Freeze Volleyball practice session at MCC School in Newfolden back on September 17. The Freeze Volleyball team opens the regular season at home in Karlstad on Monday, October 12 versus the Kittson County Central Bearcats— in a gym with no fans. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

A couple Freeze football players line up in their three-point stance during a Freeze Football practice session at MCC School in Newfolden back on September 17. The Freeze Football team opens the regular season at home in Newfolden versus the Win-E-Mac Patriots on October 9. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Freeze Volleyball senior Brooke Fredrickson appreciated the opportunity to compete this fall, but did admit that it will be weird having no fans at their games. The team will have to adjust to not just to this, but other aspects of a season that will prove different.

“(We) just (need to) make as much noise as we can within the team,” Fredrickson said, “and focus on playing and not worry about the people that aren’t there.”

According to state guidance, volleyball will not be allowed to have any fans at their games this fall due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Football will be allowed up to 250 fans, according to state guidance. These won’t be the only adjustments volleyball and football teams across the state will encounter.

Having to abide by specific practice and game safety precautions, Freeze fall head coaches and some senior Freeze fall student-athletes will soon open their regular seasons. Freeze Volleyball opens the season at home in Karlstad on Monday, October 12 versus Kittson County Central and Freeze Football opens at home in Newfolden versus Win-E-Mac on Friday, October 9. The teams discussed their expectations heading into the season.

As review, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) initially pushed the football and volleyball seasons to the spring and allowed teams to participate in a fall training season— a period in which teams could practice 12 times between September 14 and October 3. At the start of the second week of this training season—on September 21— the MSHSL decided to restart the actual football and volleyball seasons in the fall.

The official volleyball season will run 11 weeks, including postseason play. The season officially began on September 28 and the first possible competition date falls on October 8. The last day of the regular season is on November 28, the first day of postseason play is on November 30, and the last day of the season is on December 12. During this volleyball season, teams can play up to 14 matches, but only two per week and only participate in dual matches— not invitationals or tournaments. Their matches must be against conference, section, or local opponents only.

Freeze Head Volleyball Coach Melissa Thompson has high expectations for her team heading into this season, one that is coming off a winning 15-14 campaign last fall. She estimated about 52 seventh to twelfth grade players on this season’s roster.

“Some of the girls have been on this (varsity) team for maybe three years, including this year. They’ve been playing together for awhile,” Coach Thompson said. “They are a very positive group. They are so great to include everybody in every drill, any activity. They’re very inclusive.”

One of the Freeze Volleyball seniors, Fredrickson also has high expectations for this team.

“I feel like we can compete with pretty much everybody,” Fredrickson said. “I mean, my goal, personally, is for us to be above .500 (have more wins then losses) and make it to the first round of whatever type playoffs we have. So and I just hope that we can play as a team and communicate really well.”

As for football, the season will run nine weeks, including postseason play. It officially began on September 28 and ends on November 28. The first possible competition date is on October 9 and the last day of regular season competition is on November 11 or 12. Teams can have up to six games during the regular season and just one game per week.

Freeze Head Football Coach Adam Gast sees this year’s version of the Freeze as a very athletic one. At the ninth to twelfth grade level, he has 21 players, including 6 seniors. This total number of players is a little down from his first few years as head coach, when he had almost 30 players. Coach Gast said his team plans to run some different things this season compared to the last one, hoping and planning to show its speed.

“They could do good things,” Coach Gast said. “It’s a six-game season. And, if we can win more than half of our games, I think we’ll be sitting pretty good for if and what they do for playoffs in our region.”

Of note, both the volleyball and football seasons include postseason play, but not beyond the section level.

Freeze Football senior offensive and defensive lineman Adam Maurstad believes his team could do great things this season.

“Personally, I think we have a pretty talented group of kids this year. And I think that we could do some good things this fall and hopefully win a good amount of games,” Maurstad said, “but we’re going to be trying our best no matter what. But I have high expectations for us.”

To see the complete story, read the October 8 issue of the North Star News in print or online.

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