Volleyball: Warriors finally get better of Spuds

After watching the Moorhead Spuds end their season the past three seasons, the Brainerd Warriors enjoyed a little revenge Thursday, Nov. 5

Brainerd's Meghan Smith serves the ball against Moorhead Thursday, Nov. 5, at Brainerd High School. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

For the past three seasons, the Moorhead Spuds have knocked the Brainerd Warriors out of the Section 8-3A playoffs with matching 3-0 scores.

It was time for Brainerd to get some payback, and the Warriors did with a 3-1 victory Thursday, Nov. 5 at Brainerd High School.

Brainerd used a balanced offensive attack to grab two early wins. Four Warriors posted at least eight kills, including Madison Genz who led Brainerd with 12 kills and 22 digs.

“That was super nice because then we don’t have blockers camping out on any one person,” Warrior Kate Stadum said. “We can really spread it and get everyone hyped up so that’s nice. It helps with team chemistry.”

In the fourth and deciding set, Moorhead jumped out to a 6-2 edge thanks to the Spuds’ senior middle hitter Sam Zimmerman. The 6-footer finished with 10 kills.


Brainerd rallied to tie the score 8-8 thanks to a Stadum ace and consecutive Moorhead errors.

With the score tied 15-15, Brainerd whittled away at a 24-17 edge with kills from Genz and Stadum and another Stadum ace.

The Spuds answered, however with six straight points to pull to 24-23, but after serving six straight times, Ella Swedberg’s final serve went deep and the Warriors hung on for a 25-23 victory.

“It was very nerve-wracking because our coaches and us really wanted to win,” Stadum. “It was good that we ended up taking it. We needed this one.

“They’ve been going to state for the past couple of years and this is our first time beating them in like 20 years so it was good.”

Moorhead busted out of the third set for a 10-4 edge. A Genz kill and Iyana Picker block cut the lead to 15-11, but the Spuds cruised to a 25-17 victory.


“They just got some momentum and we went downhill,” Stadum said. “We got down on ourselves. We were able to bring it back, though.”

In the second set, Brainerd jumped to a 9-1 lead thanks to two Stadum kills, a Genz kill, a Karlie Anderson tip and an ace serve from Genz. Stadum finished with eight kills and five digs. Anderson posted nine kills and five digs and Hala Davis recorded eight kills.

The Warriors maintained control for most of the set, but a service error and three straight hitting errors pushed the score to 24-15 until the Spuds suffered their own error to end the set 25-15 in Brainerd’s favor.

“When we move it around like we did in the second set it’s a big key for us,” Warriors head coach Rick Kuehlwein said. “If we move it around it isolates blocks. That’s what we needed to do.

“We had a good block for a while, but we needed more out of Karlie tonight. I kept telling her, but the key to beating a team like Moorhead, and they’re the section champs five times in a row, the key to beating them is to win the rallies that go four and five and we were doing that the first two sets. It’s not about the kills you get, but making sure you keep that ball in play.”

The Spuds jumped to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, but Brainerd tied the score 9-9, 12-12 and 13-13 before finally taking its first lead at 14-13 on a Moorhead error.

A Davis kill gave the Warriors a 17-16 lead, which they wouldn’t relinquish. A Genz kill and Anderson tip sealed the 25-21 victory in set one.

Abbigayle Bohlen led Brainerd with 26 set assists to go with five digs. Grace Peabody added 17 set assists and seven digs and Meghan Smith finished with 11 digs for Brainerd.


“This is a confidence builder for us for sure,” Kuehlwein said. “There is no doubt about that. Anytime you can get by Moorhead it’s a big deal. They’ve had our number for years. I hope we’re building on that.”

Moorhead 21 15 25 23
Brainerd 25 25 17 25

Brainerd statistics
Kate Stadum 8 kills, 5 digs, 2 ace serves
Grace Peabody 7 digs, 17 set assists, 1 ace serve
Madison Genz 12 kills, 22 digs, 2 ace serves
Abbigayle Bohlen 5 digs, 26 set assists
Hala Davis 8 kills
Meghan Smith 11 digs
Iyana Pickar 3 kills
Karlie Anderson 9 kills, 5 digs

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Warriors 3, Moorhead 1

Key: Four different Warriors had eight or more kills


Overall: Brd 5-2, M 5-3

Next: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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