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Wolverines rally to spoil Perham’s home opener

Wadena-Deer Creek's Kennedy Gravelle goes for the attack attempt against Perham during the Wolverines' 3-2 victory over the Yellowjackets. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Wadena-Deer Creek's Ashley Adams tries to get the attack past the Perham block during the Wolverines' 3-2 victory over the Yellowjackets. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal.2 / 2

For much of the night, it appeared the Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team was going to be a trivia answer to the question, who lost the first game in Perham’s new high school gymnasium? However, the Wolverines rallied and stunned the Yellowjackets 5-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 17-15 to spoil the home opener on Aug. 30 in Perham.

“This is an amazing feeling, especially with that comeback that we had,” Wadena-Deer Creek’s Ashley Adams said. “Nothing compares to this feeling right now.”

Kylee Hopp and Kennedy Gravelle go for the block.

The Wolverines appeared in awe of the new gymnasium in Perham and fell behind in a big rut early. Perham jumped on the Wolverines in the first two sets, barely giving Wadena-DC a chance to gain any momentum.

“We knew this was the first game in their new gym and that they would be fired up,” Sue Volkmann said. “We have such young players and they were so overwhelmed. Everybody got overwhelmed by the whole thing. We needed to control things on our side. It was a game of errors on both teams. It wasn’t a really pretty game to watch, but it lasted a long time.”

When asked what was the key to the turnaround, Adams quickly said it was communication and teamwork. Adams finished with 11 kills and 26 set assists.

“The first games, we had our off moments but in the third, fourth and fifth set, we all came together,” Adams said. “We just played as a team. That’s the most teamwork I have ever seen out of us and that was just awesome.”

Madison Carsten goes for the kill.

Kennedy Gravelle, who led the team with 16 kills, echoed the sentiments from Adams saying the team really needed to talk. She said when they talk more, the better they play. She said they knew they needed to pick up their talking and communication.

“We talked it over and said we had to turn things around,” Kennedy Gravelle said. “Our attitudes completely changed. We came out harder, because we really wanted to get this win.”

The Wolverines slowly started to turn the momentum in the third game after getting blasted 25-5 and 25-18 in the first two. The momentum turned when both teams were tied at 20 and Wadena-DC built up a small lead. Kylee Hopp, who finished with seven kills, came up with a pair of kills in the closing points and Gravelle closed out the third set with a kill, giving Wadena-DC the 25-23 lead.

Wadena-DC built up a 14-7 lead in the fourth set, only to relinquish it back to the Yellowjackets. However, the Wolverines maintained their poise in the fourth and built the lead back up at 24-20. Perham rallied but Adams caught the Yellowjackets by surprise with a tip at the net, preserving the 25-23 win.

The Wolverines held off a pair of match points in the fifth set, but a pair of blocks at the net by Madison Carsten secured the win for the Wolverines. Carsten and Gravelle combined for the first one and it was Carsten’s block that landed inside the line which gave the Wolverines the 17-15 win.

The victory improves the Wolverines to 2-0 overall on the season. They return to action at home on Sept. 4 when they take on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at 7:30 p.m.

“It shows that we can really do anything,” Gravelle said of the comeback win. “The odds were against us and we turned things around and it gives us hope that we can do that in any game.”

Wadena-DC def. Perham (5-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 17-15)

WDC: Kennedy Gravelle 16K, 2D, 1B; Ashley Adams 11K, 8D, 1AS, 1B, 26SA; Kylee Hopp 7K, 1D, 1B; Madison Carsten 5K, 15D, 1AS, 3B, 3SA; Laura Krause 2K, 5D; Courtny Warren 19D;  Kyla Ness 9D, 1AS; Lauryn Gravelle 1D, Mari Grendahl 1D; MacKenzie Carsten 6SA.

PER: Allie King 3AS, 32SA, 11D; Laura Alstadt 9K, 1SA, 1AS, 15D; Gracie DeBoer 9K, 4D; Lily DeBoer 10K, 18SA, 11D; Rachel Muer 9K, 1SA, 22D; Bradlyn Gniffke 9K, 1AS, 1D; Lisa Meader 1AS, 39D; Ilona Raitis 9K, 2D.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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