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Volleyball: Brainerd powers past Tech in opening match

Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech Aug. 30

Warrior Volleyball action
Brainerd Warrior Kate Stadum spikes the ball against the St. Cloud Tech Tigers Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, during the season opener at Brainerd High School.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — From the start, the Brainerd Warriors were in control Tuesday, Aug. 30.

In their first action of the season, the Warriors cruised to a 3-0 Central Lakes Conference victory over the St. Cloud Tech Tigers at Brainerd High School.

Senior outside hitter Kate Stadum led the way with 10 kills, three ace serves and two digs.

“In warmups it was just clicking, so I knew it was going to be a good one,” she said.

What Warriors head coach Rick Kuehlwein was impressed with was how his sophomores played.

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“It was nice to get a couple of those sophomores in because they hadn’t seen the floor and they were shaking in their boots out there,” he said. “It was fun to see them out there.”

Sophomore hitter Karley Dunham tallied five ace serves, three kills and one block.

More stories from Conrad
The Brainerd Warriors will start their season at home against the St. Cloud Tech Tigers Tuesday, Aug. 30.

“I was really impressed with how Karley Dunham served tonight,” Kuehlwein said. “Normally with a jump serve like hers, she gets 65% in. I let her go and I think she missed maybe one or two all night.”

Junior setter Aden Yost and senior setter Anika Aho split time at three rotations apiece. Yost recorded 15 set assists and Aho 10.

“I’ve definitely improved,” Yost said. “Last year, I played and was nervous all the time and now I’m getting used to it.”

Brainerd jumped to a 5-0 lead in Set One before Tech called a timeout.

The Tigers battled back to make it 12-10 before another 5-0 Warriors’ run made it 17-10 and Tech called its second timeout of the set.

The Warriors closed it out with Aho serving to get the 25-15 victory.

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“We were definitely playing with a lot of energy,” Stadum said. “The whole thing this year is to just keep the energy high going into every game whether we win or lose.”

In the second set, the Warriors raced to a 7-1 lead after a Stadum kill which forced Tech to call timeout.

Brainerd then cruised to a 25-14 win in Set Two. A Stadum kill closed out the set and gave the Warriors a 2-0 advantage.

The Tigers showed fight in the third set and took a 12-7 lead before an Iyana Pickar kill sparked the Warriors.

Pickar finished with a team-leading four blocks to go along with five kills and one ace serve.

Another Stadum kill gave the Warriors’ their first lead of Set Three 17-16. The Warriors took a 21-18 advantage which caused Tech to call a timeout.

Dunham slammed two aces to make it 24-19 and the Warriors closed out match point with a Stadum kill to win the third set 25-20.

“Kate had a real nice match,” Kuehlwein said. “I liked the way we were blocking and we set their hitters down a lot with our blocking. I think we kept them out of system a lot with our serving.”

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The Warriors travel to play Sartell Thursday, Sept. 1, for a conference and Section 8-4A matchup.

“We are going to ball handle and work on different quicks,” Kuehlwein said. “We have a different lineup we are putting in with Aden Yost probably going four rotations instead of three.”

St. Cloud Tech 15 14 20

Brainerd 25 25 25

Brainerd statistics

Kate Stadum 10 kills, 3 ace serves, 2 digs

Ana Bjorklund 1 dig

Emma Garding 3 digs

Ella Anderson 4 digs

Greta Jager 2 kills, 3 blocks

Anika Aho 10 set assists

Karley Dunham 3 kills, 5 ace serves, 1 block

Aden Yost 2 ace serves, 1 dig, 15 set assists

Emma Storm 2 digs

Iyana Pickar 5 kills, 1 ace serve, 4 blocks

Abigail Paulson 2 kills, 4 blocks

Brainerd 3, St. Cloud Tech 0

Key: Quick starts help Brainerd sweep Tech
Conference: Brd 1-0, SCT 0-1.
Overall: Brd 1-0, SCT 0-1.
Next: Brainerd at Sartell 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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