NEW ULM - When the basketball season began, Minnesota Valley Lutheran girl's basketball coach Dave Bidenbender knew that this team was going to have a good record.
"I knew that this team was going to have a fair amount of success," said Biedenbender, who is in his 14th season as coach of the Chargers. "I knew that we would have a couple of tough games against Springfield and St. Croix Lutheran. We lost to St. Croix."
The loss dropped MVL to 4-1 on the season with a team that lost five seniors from last year's 23-5 team.
"But we had about 10 players who played for us - we really went 10 deep in many games," Biedenbender said. "So we had five or six of those players back."
Biedenbender said junior Anna Munsen, the Chargers' post player, has averaged 20 points and 10 rebound per game.
The Chargers' outside threat has come in the form of seniors Nicole Moldstad and Charlotte Pfingsten.
"They have done a good job of handling the ball and leading the way outside," Biedenbender said.
Biedenbender said that has led to a team that balances scoring from both the outside and inside. But the team still leans more toward scoring on the inside with Munsen, senior Alexa Alfred and sophomore Johanna Kettner.
Depth is not a problem for the Chargers, despite having only 10 players on varsity. Biedenbender said Laura Schoenherr tore her ACL before the season, sidelining her for this year.
Biedenbender said comparing last year's team to this year's is "still an unknown right now."
"We play Wabasso, Cedar Mountain and Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity right after the Christmas break," Biedenbender said. "Those will be games that will show us what we are made of. And I think that the Tomahawk Conference is even across the board."
This year will also be a milestone for Biedenbender. He currently sits with 295 career wins as the Chargers' coach.
He knows that his 300th will be special.
"It is hard to believe that we have been here that long and played that many games," Biedenbender said. "It is an exciting thing. But I look back and I attribute whatever we have been able to accomplish the last 14 years to a lot of great girls basketball players going back to players like Erin Czer, Sarah Gronholz and Jessica Merseth. It is real tribute to the girls. It is an exciting milestone."
LUVERNE LEADS SECTION HOCKEY STATS: Luverne is currently No. 1 in the Section 3A boy's hockey rankings from MinnesotaScores.com.
The Cardinals are currently 9-0 with Willmar 4-1, Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato at 4-3 and New Ulm at 3-3.
Luverne also has the top-four scorers in the section with sophomore Chaz Smedsrud at 15 goals and 12 assists. Senior Logan Norman has scored five goals and added 17 assists for the Cardinals followed by eighth-grader Jaxon Nelson with 13 goals and 10 assists. The fourth Luverne player is senior Gunnar Olson who has seven goals and eight assists.
David Raisanen of LDC has five goals and eight assists with a fifth Luverne player, junior Toby Sengvongxay, with four goals and eight helpers.
New Ulm is led by junior Brandon Helget with four goals and four assists followed by Judd Davis (3-4). Wyatt Peterson (2-4) and Jon Kopacek (4-2) round out the top Eagles' scorers.