Elliott column: 'Streeters coach keeping his toes

Elliott column: 'Streeters coach keeping his toes

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Elliott column: 'Streeters coach keeping his toes

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ST. JOSEPH

Bet that Jim Klaphake has been no where near an auger lately.

“I think I’m in lock-down,” he quipped.

The Mainstreeters head coach needs to keep all his toes so the Sauk Centre volleyball team can reach all 10 of its preseason goals.

“We’ll try to get the nine, but I’m not sure about No. 10,” Sauk Centre senior setter Amanda Kulzer said with a laugh. “It’s up to him.”

It normally wouldn’t be an issue for most coaches, but Klaphake almost missed Sauk Centre’s section volleyball championship last year because of a farming accident that nearly cost him the little toe on his right foot. It got caught in an auger on his farm the day before the section final.

He was released from the St. Cloud Hospital at 1 p.m. and just made it to the College of St. Benedict to watch the Mainstreeters beat Dassel-Cokato for the title.

“The doctor was mad at me when I left,” said Klaphake with a big smile. “I told him, ‘No way I’m missing that one.'”

Sauk Centre and Dassel-Cokato play for the Section 6-2A title at 2 p.m. today at Claire Lynch Hall.

“We have a list this year that we want to complete,” Mainstreeters senior Amanda Weir said. “And one of them is he can’t lose his toe this year.”

On the list is winning the section championship for the fourth straight year. Sauk Centre is 28-3 and coming off an impressive 14-0 record in the West Central Conference (another goal) and a North Sub-Section 6-2A championship (another one). The Mainstreeters beat Melrose 3-0 Thursday at Sauk Rapids.

And while Sauk Centre may not be as individually talented as the previous three state entrants, Klaphake said it’s a great team with excellent defense and good depth.

“This team is more team; it’s just team,” Klaphake said. “It’s, ‘Everybody do your job. You don’t have to be spectacular. Do your job and things will take care of themselves.'”

They do it and do it well. They go against an excellent Dassel-Cokato team that is 26-3 and having the best volleyball season in school history.

The Chargers are tall, talented and well-coached. They play defense well and have strong back-row play to go with three senior hitters, Anne Raisanen, Brenna Olsen and Andi Gayner, who are all threats any time the ball is set their way.

Sauk Centre is a lot smaller and less experienced with almost a whole new lineup this season. But the Mainstreeters have nearly matched last season’s 32-1 record when Sauk Centre wound up third at state. Winning the section is another on their goal list.

Now if Klaphake can just avoid losing any body parts for another day.

“We’re making sure he doesn’t lose any more toes this time,” Kulzer said. “We’re keeping him away from augers.”

“I think I’m in lock-down,” Klaphake quipped. “Kellie (Wehrman) and Molly (Anderson) will make sure.

“Although we’re in really good hands with those two (assistants). They’re great coaches. All I had to do was show up last year. They had it under control.”

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