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Volleyball: Warriors crush Fergus Falls to improve conference record to 4-1

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Warrior Delaney Schaeffer taps the ball past a Fergus Falls defender Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Brainerd High School. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd Warriors breezed through the first two sets Tuesday, Sept. 17, against Fergus Falls.

They won the first set 25-13 and the second set 25-15. In the third set, however, they found themselves down 18-14 when Warrior coach Rick Kuehlwein called a timeout.

“I told them to handle the ball a little better,” Kuehlwein said. “We weren’t handling the ball well and all of the sudden they were serving a little better than we were. We just had to get more focused and stay disciplined.”

Whatever coach Kuehlwein said worked as the Warriors rallied to go on 4-1 run to tie the third set 19-19.

Senior middle hitter Delaney Schaeffer only slammed five kills on the night, but smashed the last kill for Brainerd as they won the third set 27-25 and beat Fergus Falls in straight sets.

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“The best thing I did was get that last point and finish the last set for us,” Schaeffer said. “It was a good win for us to start the momentum for the week. We have a good game on Thursday so it was nice to get a win to get our team going.”

The Warriors started the game hot leading the first set 10-2. With Abbi Bohlen serving to start the game, the Warriors went on a 5-0 run and then, with Kate Stadum serving, went on a second 5-0 to give them their cushion.

Fergus Falls fought back to cut the Warrior lead to 16-13. With Bohlen serving again, however, the Warriors went on a 9-0 run to close out the Otters 25-13.

“We had a lot of momentum going in,” Kuehlwein said. “We got to play a few extra kids which was nice, but at the end it wasn’t our best.”

The second set started the same way the first set did for the Warriors. They got off to a 12-2 lead highlighted by an 8-0 run with Grace Peabody serving.

The Warriors rode their early cushion to an easy 25-15 win in the second set that ended with an Avery Eckman ace serve -- one of her four.

“Coach just tells me not to think at all,” Eckman says of her serves. “So I just try to do that. I’m a little injured right now with my hip, but I just wanted to win.”

Eckman added 13 kills and six digs to lead the Warriors. Kuehlwein said she will have an MRI on her hip Thursday.

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Bohlen netted 16 set assists and Peabody added another 13 set assists to set up the Warriors offense. Kuehlwein thought his team played average for the game.

“It was nice to see Delaney Schaeffer at the end get a big kill,” Kuehlwein said. “And I think Karli Anderson had some nice blocks. Offensively we were not as good as we normally are.”

The Warriors have enjoyed success in Central Lakes Conference play in 2019. The win against the Otters marks their fourth conference win of the season.

“Sartell is 9-0 and we went five sets with them,” Kuehlwein said. “We feel if we just play our game and our discipline we will be fine. We just got to be healthy.”

Fergus Falls 13 15 25

Brainerd 25 25 27

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Brainerd statistics

Kate Stadum 6 kills, 1 serve ace, 10 digs

Grace Peabody 13 set assists, 2 ace serves

Madison Genz 4 kills

Abbi Bohlen 16 set assists, 3 ace serves

Avery Eckman 13 kills, 4 ace serves 6 digs

Grace Rivard 2 ace serves, 14 digs

Delaney Schaffer 5 kills

WARRIORS 3, FERGUS FALLS 0

Key: Quick start gave Warriors the momentum to sweep Fergus Falls.

Conf: Brd 4-1, FF 3-3

Overall: Brd 7-3, FF 4-8

Next: Brainerd at Alexandria 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19

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