Volleyball: Warriors advance to quarterfinals with sweep of Tech
Warriors, Tech The key: Brainerd smacked 39 kills Overall: Brd 18-14, SC 4-21 Next: No. 6 Brainerd at No. 3 Bemidji in Section 8-3A quarterfinals 7 p.m. Friday. "33." That was the number of a play the sixth-seeded Brainerd Warriors executed to pe...
The key: Brainerd smacked 39 kills
Overall: Brd 18-14, SC 4-21
Next: No. 6 Brainerd at No. 3 Bemidji in Section 8-3A quarterfinals 7 p.m. Friday.
That was the number of a play the sixth-seeded Brainerd Warriors executed to perfection in the third game of their 3-0 sweep of the No. 11 St. Cloud Tech Tigers in the opening round of the Section 8-3A tournament Wednesday night.
Warriors coach Jared Diem explained that the play involved Nicole Borg sliding behind Jenna Degen. Then Heather Fletcher, the right side hitter, runs to the left side and then to the middle to pound one of her team-high 11 kills.
"That might have been the hardest hit I've ever seen in six years of coaching even with Sydnie (Mauch)," Diem said. "That 33 was pretty sweet. That's the kind of play the coaches and I came up with so it was fun to see it put in play in our last home game this season."
The match lasted exactly 60 minutes as Brainerd, as expected, disposed of the Tigers, whom they had beaten twice during the regular season. Tech finished its season losing 11 of its last 12 matches.
Fletcher said the Warriors weren't overconfident despite lower seed.
"We had confidence but we didn't want to be big-headed. We're not that type of team," she said. "We're strong. We always come in strong."
Diem said Tech lost its starting setter midway through the season, which is equivalent to a football team losing its star quarterback.
"That's always hard to recover from," he said.
Brainerd never trailed in any of the three games. It won the first 25-15 and the second 25-13. Tech battled back in the final game, closing to one point twice and to two points five times before the Warriors pulled away.
"Most of the points that happened were our own fault," Fletcher said of Game Three. "I have a lot of confidence in our team so when it came down to it I knew there would be some up and downs but I was confident that we were going to come back up."
The Warriors move on to Bemidji to face the third-seeded Lumberjacks at 7 p.m. Friday in the section quarterfinals. Brainerd outlasted Bemidji 3-2 on Sept. 8.
Diem said Bemidji is a difficult place to play but the Warriors are a different team than they were in September.
"I know (the games) were all close but our girls were really still trying to find themselves at that point," he said. "The Bemidji coaches were here scouting us and fortunately we weren't playing a game where it was really close and they could see a lot of things because we had a lot of substitutions. It was a good mark of respect that they were here because we are a totally different team. We're playing much better, much cleaner, much harder, we're blocking better. We're just doing a lot of little things that we didn't do at the beginning of the season."
St. Cloud Tech 15 13 18
Brainerd 25 25 25
Hannah Chisholm 1 dig
Heather Fletcher 11 kills, 3.5 blocks
Jenna Degen 2 kills, 4 ace serves, 3 digs, 1 block, 36 set assists
Katy Johnson 7 kills, 2 ace serves, 8 digs, 1 block, 1 set assist
Kellie Fletcher 1 kill, 1 block
Kirsten Johnshoy 2 aces, 7 digs, 1 set assist
Madison Stall 1 kill, 9 digs
McKenzie Peterson 1 kill, 1 ace, 1 dig
Mercedes Stavig 2 kills
Nicole Borg 6 kills, 1 block
Tedi Ramberg 8 kills, 3 blocks