Volleyball: Bemidji axes Brainerd in rivalry match-up

Brainerd hosts Bemidji Tuesday, Oct. 12

Brainerd Warrior Ella Anderson digs the ball Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, against the Bemidji Lumberjacks in Brainerd. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd was out of sync Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The Warriors rarely led on their home court and got swept 3-0 by rival Bemidji in a non-conference match.

“We try to tell them to play our game,” Warriors head coach Rick Kuehlwein said. “We weren’t happy with the way we played and I got on them a little bit, but the bottom line is we didn’t play the way we can play.”

Kate Stadum and Meghan Smith both led the Warriors in kills with eight.


Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks executed a game plan well and took advantage of Brainerd’s mistakes to get the road victory.

“We made sure we were serving to the right people,” Bemidji head coach Alicia Kriens said. “We really wanted to make sure we were doing our job and just attacking the ball every play.”

Bemidji jumped out to a 13-7 lead after a 7-1 run to take control of Set One.

Trailing 18-13 in the same set, Brainerd raced back to make it 24-22 Lumberjacks score and forced Bemidji to call timeout before they won the next point to win 25-22.

Set Two started with both teams exchanging points before a 12-1 run by the Lumberjacks put them ahead 19-10. Bemidji would close the Warriors out 25-17 to take a 2-0 advantage.

Kuehlwein did not like how his team played early.

“We just needed to pass better,” he said. “We are either really good or really bad and tonight we were bad. Give Bemidji some credit, they played well, but we just made too many errors in the beginning and couldn’t get out of the well.”


Set Three started with more of the same from Bemidji. The Lumberjacks raced out to a 6-0 advantage. The Warriors showed fight to tie the third set 8-8.

Bemidji broke the tie and stretched their lead out to 19-12 before the Warriors called their final timeout.

The Lumberjacks closed out another Brainerd late rally to complete the sweep 25-21.

Myah Nelson led Brianerd with 13 set assists while Aden Yost was close behind with 11.

Hala Davis added a team-leading seven digs to go with four kills and a block. Ella Anderson tallied six digs along with Stadum.

Kriens said it was a good win for her team who still remember losing to Brainerd in the Section 8-3A playoffs two years ago.

“Coming here today, they came in with the mindset to win and they did it,” she said. “They stayed focused and consistent the whole match.”

Brainerd travels to Willmar Thursday, Oct. 14, for its next game. Willmar beat the Warriors in five sets, coming back from a 0-2 deficit to win.


“Looking at the section and the way it’s going to go we are going to be a four or five (seed),” Kuehlwein said. “Willmar is a good team and it’s fun playing at Willmar, too. We had a great match-up with them last time.”

Bemidji 25 25 25
Brainerd 22 17 21

Brainerd statistics
Kate Stadum 8 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace serves
Emma Storm 1 dig
Ella Anderson 6 digs
Myah Nelson 13 set assists
Hala Davis 4 kills, 1 block, 7 digs
Karley Dunham 3 kills
Aden Yost 11 set assists, 2 digs, 1 ace serve
Meghan Smith 8 kills, 4 digs
Iyana Pickar 1 kill, 1 dig
Abby Paulson 1 kill, 1 ace serve, 1 dig

Bemidji 3, Warriors 0

Key: Bemidji quiets Brainerd’s home crowd in sweep.

Overall: Brd 17-9-1, Bem 8-8.

Next: Brainerd at Willmar 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

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