WADENA -- Lydia Hubbard’s 12 kills led the way as No. 1 seed Pequot Lakes beat No. 7 seed Fergus Falls in straight sets Tuesday, Oct. 29, in the South Subsection 8-2A final.
However, Pequot Lakes defense was what stood out as three Patriots finished the game with 10 or more digs.
“We work a lot on defense in practice,” libero Mariah Rickard said. “And we make a really big focus because without a pass you cannot get that kill at the end. It may look like a small factor in the game, but to us it is really big.”
The Patriots won the first set 25-20 and Kate Bolz-Andolshek hammered the last kill to finish the Otters.
With Mirjana Ganley serving Pequot Lakes mounted a 5-0 run that gave them the cushion they needed to take a 1-0 lead.
In the Game Two, the score was tied 22-22 when Bolz-Andolshek finished off the Otters again with three straight kills all tips out of the reach of Otters defenders.
“My coach always says that in order to get that last point you have to go for the biggest kill you got,” Bolz-Andolshek said. “And I always keep that in mind.”
Ella Pfeiffer served up a 7-0 run for Pequot Lakes early in the second set, but the Otters came roaring back with a 7-0 run of their own before Bolz-Andolshek closed the door.
Phoebe Glenn recorded one of her two ace serves to put the Patriots up 6-2 in the third set. It was with Glenn serving again the Patriots went on another run to up 18-11 and never looked back winning 25-17 to win the match 3-0.
Pequot Lakes head coach Chris Ganley thought her team played with the right amount of intensity the entire game to help them pull out the win.
“Our kids did a great job at just continuing to fight for each point,” Chris Ganley said. “Because we got a little lead and we were able to hold it and (Fergus Falls) was a very good team.”
Glenn finished with 19 set assists and eight digs, while Mariah Rickard, Mirjana Ganley, and Ella Pfeiffer all finished with 10 or more digs to lead the defensive effort for the Patriots.
“All season -- Mariah Rickard, Mirjana Ganley, and Ella Pfeiffer I want to call them ‘the three digateers’ because they really bonded over defense and they really work well together,” Chris Ganley said. “They are the perfect model for how defensive kids should play together.”
Bolz-Andolshek only tallied five kills, but four of them came at the end sets to finish off the Otters for good.
“Either Kate or Lydia can be the closer,” Chris Ganley said. “They are both great players and Kate is very smart and sees the court well and I feel like she definitely saw some holes she could get to tonight.”
Playing in the section finals will be a new adventure for this Pequot Lakes squad. They will play Park Rapids who they split with in the regular season, but are excited for the challenge of going to state.
“We are really looking forward to it,” Bolz-Andolshek said of the Section 8-2A Finals. “This is when it really counts.”
Pequot Lakes 3, Fergus Falls 0
Key: Four Pequot Lakes players recorded 8 or more digs as the Patriots move on to the Section 8-2A Finals.
Overall: PL 25-5, FF 11-19.
Next: Pequot Lakes plays Park Rapids in Section 8-3A Finals 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.