Volleyball: Warriors avenge early season loss with 3-1 win over Sartell
When the pressure was on, the Brainerd Warrior hitters stepped up Tuesday, Nov. 17.
In the fourth set, Brainerd trailed 23-22 to the Sartell Sabres who needed the set to force a fifth and deciding set.
Brainerd’s Karlie Anderson smashed one of her team-leading 16 kills to make it 23-23. Sartell called a timeout after an Abbi Bohlen ace had the Warriors on the brink of a Central Lakes Conference victory.
The two teams exchanged points to 25-25. Anderson spiked a kill to give the Warriors a 26-25 lead and Madi Genz sealed the match with a kill of her own.
Brainerd took the fourth set 27-25 to avenge its loss to Sartell earlier in the season. The Warriors won the first set 25-17 and the third set 25-13.
“I thought our offense was a little tight at the end,” Warriors head coach Rick Kuehlwein said. “Karlie got a lot of kills, but we made too many silly mistakes at the end. The girls were pretty tenacious for quite a while and we were attacking the back row with reckless abandon.”
Kuehlwein said the defense stepped up big to give his team the victory.
“I told Grace (Peabody) that she was probably the defensive player of the night,” he said. “She made some saves that were just phenomenal. I can’t say enough about how she played defense.”
Peabody tallied 10 digs and 19 set assists for the Warriors in the win. Sartell was without their big hitter, senior Elizabeth Dille.
“We just knew that even though they did not have Dille that we still needed to come out with just as much fire because the game still wasn’t ours even though they didn’t have one of their top players,” Peabody said. “I think we were really ready tonight because our season is on the verge of shutting down, so we have to play every game like it’s our last.”
In the first set, the Warriors jumped to a 4-1 lead after an Anderson kill. Sartell crawled back to tie it 7-7, but Brainerd vaulted on a run to lead 19-11. After a Meghan Smith ace, the Warriors won 25-17.
Kuehlwein was impressed with his back row against Sartell.
“I want the kids to not be afraid and go for that ball in the back row,” he said. “When we are out of system we are going to the back row and that's what's happening.”
The second set was a set of runs. The first run was by the Sabres who went on a 7-1 run to take a 17-11 lead. The Warriors responded with a 7-0 run to take an 18-17 lead. Brainerd led 22-20 before a 5-0 Sartell run gave the Sabres a 25-22 win in Set Two.
The Warriors had three different players with double-digit kills. Anderson led with 17, Madi Genz recorded 13 and Kate Stadum tallied 10 to balance the Warriors’ offense.
“That helps a lot,” Kuehlwein said. “Our offense was clicking when it was in system. But I don’t think we were in system as much as we should’ve been.”
Set Three saw the Warriors cruise to a 9-0 lead with Bohlen serving. Bohlen led the Warriors with 29 set assists. Brainerd walked away with a 25-13 win in the third set after an Anderson block.
In the fourth set, the Warriors won despite never leading by more than two points the entire set. Sartell held the largest advantage at 10-7.
Genz finished the game with 14 digs to go along with her 13 kills. Stadum recorded 13 digs and Meghan Smith 14 digs.
Moving forward the Warriors would like to finish their regular season and play the three games left on their schedule, however, depending on what Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz rules in the next coming days the Warriors season could be over.
“Every game is a gift,” Kuehlwein said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Our regular season ends next week. It’d be nice to finish that. It’s not that much to ask. I just hope we can play.”
As a senior, Peabody feels the season is on the brink of being over and tries to play every game like it’s her last.
“We really do never know when it is going to end,” Peabody said. “As a senior, it is kind of heartbreaking to like realize that. I guess it really won’t set in until it is really done.”
Sartell 17 25 13 25
Brainerd 25 22 25 27
Kate Stadum 13 digs, 10 kills
Hillary Hoelz 2 digs
Grace Peabody 10 digs, 19 set assists, 1 ace serves
Makenna O’Neal 4 digs, 2 ace serves
Madison Genz 14 digs, 13 kills, 2 blocks
Abbigayle Bohlen 8 digs, 29 set assists, 3 ace serves
Hala Davis 2 digs, 7 kills, 4 blocks
Kiarra Story 5 digs
Meghan Smith 14 digs, 1 kill. 1 ace serve
Iyana Pickar 1 kill, 2 blocks
Karlie Anderson 9 digs, 16 kills, 4 blocks
Warriors 3, Sartell 1
Key: Brainerd’s defense steps up to give the Warriors a Central Lakes Conference win.
Conference: Brd 6-3, Sar 5-3.
Overall: Brd 8-3, Sar 6-4.
Next: Brainerd at Fergus Falls 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.