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High School Volleyball: Patriots win 3rd straight from Warriors

For the past few seasons, the Pequot Lakes Patriots have had the Brainerd Warriors' number. Thursday, the Patriots made it three straight victories against Brainerd with a 3-1 win in front of a decent crowd in the season opener for both teams at ...

 

For the past few seasons, the Pequot Lakes Patriots have had the Brainerd Warriors' number.

Thursday, the Patriots made it three straight victories against Brainerd with a 3-1 win in front of a decent crowd in the season opener for both teams at Brainerd High School.

But first-year Pequot coach Chris Ganley isn't going to get overconfident. She doesn't expect the Patriots' streak against Brainerd to last forever. Case in point: From 2009-14, the Warriors beat Pequot in five of six matches.

"Sometimes that can happen," Ganley said of a win streak. "Normally it's cyclical. I would expect it will be cyclical their way next year."

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In his first match as Brainerd's head coach, Rick Kuehlwein thought the Warriors' mistakes led to their defeat.

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Patriots 3, Warriors 1

  • The key: Unforced errors lead to Brainerd's defeat
  • Overall: Brd 0-1, PL 1-0
  • Next: Brainerd at Willmar 7 p.m. Thursday; Wadena-Deer Creek at Pequot Lakes 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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"We had 42 unforced errors tonight. That's Herculean. That's a lot of unforced errors," he said. "We had 13 missed serves, then hitting errors were unbelievable. We had some kills but I think we had more hitting errors than we had kills.

"But the kids showed some grit, and they came back. They know they can play with them. I'm not taking anything away from Pequot. They're a good team, but it's not a match they won, it's a match we lost, and I believe that."

Britt Kratochvil and Clare Ganley each pounded 10 kills for the Patriots. Mariah Rickard contributed 10 digs and Sannah Lohmiller 12 set assists.

Brainerd's Courtney Russell cranked 14 kills and Avery Eckman 11. Eckman led the team in digs with 12 and Russell added 10. Cara Helgeson collected 18 set assists and Kealy Johnson 14.

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The Patriots often stuffed Brainerd at the net, flustering the Warriors' attack.

"I also thought we serve received well enough to run our offense and get the ball to our hitters that have a little more experience," Ganley said. "That helped us. We also had some younger kids who did a nice job serving."

Brainerd expended considerable energy in the first two games as it trailed by large margins before coming back. In Game One, the Warriors fell behind by 10 points and rallied before falling 25-21. Brainerd trailed by nine in Game Two but rallied again on its way to a 25-22 loss.

The Warriors regrouped to lead almost from start to finish in Game Three on their way to a 25-18 win.

"We started to control the pace," Kuehlwein said of Game Three. "I'm just getting to know the kids. They might be a little better when they're ahead. They might know something that I don't know. But when they're behind, they struggle. We just made too many silly mistakes but they got better. They got better. We're going to clean that up."

Brainerd regressed in Game Four, trailing almost the entire match in a 25-17 defeat. Kuehlwein thought the Warriors may have relaxed a bit in the finale.

"I think (the girls) were happy to win that third set, I really do," Kuehlwein said. "When it got to Game Four, I said, 'Were you happy for one win?' One of their goals to begin this year was never lose in three. I said, 'Are you happy to lose in four?' I don't want to lose in four.

"It was a match that could go either way. It was just a matter of they had better ball handling than we did tonight."

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Pequot Lakes 25 25 18 25

Brainerd 21 22 25 17

 

Brainerd stat leaders

Cara Helgeson 18 set assists

Kelsey Stroot 2 ace serves

Courtney Russell 14 kills, 10 digs

Kealy Johnson 2 ace serves, 14 set assists

Avery Eckman 11 kills, 12 digs

 

Pequot Lakes stat leaders

Britt Kratochvil 10 kills

Elle Olmscheid 2 set assists

Karli Skog 3 ace serves, 9 set assists

Sannah Lohmiller 3 ace serves, 12 set assists

Clare Ganley 10 kills, 7 digs

Mariah Rickard 10 digs

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