High School Volleyball: Palmer helps Pequot punctuate win over Brainerd
Abby Palmer got things jumping in a hurry.
The Pequot Lakes senior’s jump serve ignited the Patriots to a 25-21, 25-20, 25-19 sweep of the Brainerd Warriors Tuesday night at Brainerd High School.
Palmer and the Patriots picked up 12 ace serves on the Warriors, who struggled with serve receive all night.
“Errors, errors and more errors,” said Brainerd head coach Jared Diem. “Pequot Lakes is a good team. They have Abby Palmer. I think she is just a hidden gem in this area. She does a lot of things well and her jump serve is strong and she hits the line well.
“But when we have five aces compared to 12 errors — usually the ratio is aces over errors, and double that if possible. But the team that makes the least amount of errors usually wins and today that old adage was as true as ever.”
In Game One, Palmer took the serve with a 3-2 Pequot lead. An ace serve, two Kayla Miller kills and two Warrior errors later and Pequot was leading 7-3. Brainerd would tie the score at 9-9, but the Patriots never trailed. The game ended with a Brainerd service error.
“We knew that we would have a big challenge ahead of us because Brainerd is one of the toughest teams we play all year,” said Palmer. “But we were ready and confident. We played as hard as we could and we came prepared.”
Palmer led the team with seven kills to go with a team-high 33 digs. She added six ace serves and three blocks. Miller smacked down five kills to go with four blocks and 26 digs. Rosie Mitchell tallied five kills, three set assists, four ace serves and five digs for Pequot.
In Game Two, Pequot trailed the Warriors 5-2 before Palmer took the serve. She brought Pequot to 6-4 before Brainerd imploded with more errors. The Patriots claimed a 9-6 lead and never trailed again. The Warriors, helped by two Mikaela Chandler blocks, pulled to 19-18 before Pequot rattled off six of the last eight points. The game again ended on a Brainerd serving error.
Taylor Johnson led Brainerd with six kills followed by four apiece from Courtney Ryan, Tedi Ramberg and Heather Fletcher. Hannah Kangas added 18 set assists and three ace serves and Jenna Degen followed with 17 set assists and six digs.
None of them, however, had an answer for Pequot’s serve.
“Today, our jump serve was a really big key,” said Palmer. “We had three main jump servers tonight. The jump serve is what we focused on in practice the last couple of weeks and that was a main factor for their defense to deal with.”
Brainerd went undefeated at home last season, but Diem was upbeat about how his team was taking the loss.
“I thought Courtney Ryan, defensively, was great tonight,” Diem added. “Her serve receive was a bright spot for me. It’s hard to compliment any hitter because we never had a lot of chances because of our serve receive.
“Service errors and serve receive — that’s the tale of the tape.”
Pequot Lakes 25 25 25
Brainerd 21 20 19
Mikaela Chandler 2 kills, 2 blocks, 3 set assists
Madison Brown 5 digs
Jenna Degen 2 kills, 1 ace serve, 6 digs, 1 block, 17 set assists
Hannah Kangas 1 kill, 3 ace serves, 3 digs, 18 set assists
Heather Fletcher 4 kill, 1.5 blocks
Courtney Ryan 4 kills, 1 ace serve, 3 digs, .5 blocks, 3 set assists
Tedi Ramberg 4 kills, 2 digs, 4 blocks
Taylor Johnshoy 6 kills, 8 digs, .5 blocks
Pequot Lakes statistics
Emma Clement 21 digs
Nicole Traut 1 kill, 1 set assist, 1 block, 13 digs
Abby Palmer 7 kills, 6 set assists, 3 blocks, 33 digs
Kristin Rettkowski 1 kill, 1 set assist, 7 blocks, 2 digs
Sabrina Aldin 7 set assists, 4 digs
Katie White 5 set assists, 1 block, 9 digs
Kayla Miller 5 kills, 4 blocks, 26 digs
Rosie Mitchell 3 kills, 3 set assists, 4 ace serves, 1 block, 5 digs
Ashley Abear 1 set assist, 1 ace serve, 20 digs