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Avery Jackson (7) puts the ball into the air as teammates Kelsi Crawford (2), Rachel Craig (12) and Courtney Volkmann (3) move in to help set up a return shot.

Section champs again, Wolverines set out for St. Paul

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Victory was just as sweet the second time last Saturday night as the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines repeated as Section 8AA volleyball champions.

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The Wolverines defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 25-10, 25-18, 19-25, 26-24 and earned the right to once again represent the section at the Class AA state volleyball tournament in St. Paul.

The Wolverines knew before the season that they had the talent to repeat but with only one senior on the team, there was room for doubt about the leadership. The season became a proving ground for leadership skills the whole team stepped up.

"It's awesome, I'm so excited," WDC tri-captain Rachael Carlisle said. "We lost three seniors and we had to pick up the leadership, the talking on the court, and now I think the chemistry is unbelievable, we have an awesome team. Everyone's amazing, everyone's stepped it up."

The Wolverines dominated the Rebels in the first two games Saturday night at Hawley High School. Sue Volkmann saw her club breeze to a 25-10 victory in Game 1 and claim a 25-18 win in Game 2.

The senior-dominated Rebels finally put together a victory in Game 3 and took some of the momentum away with a 25-19 victory.

That is where the evening's only snag developed. Volkmann got her rotation out of order and her club had to play through the mistake. Placed on the spot, the young team came up with a 26-24 victory in Game 4.

"You have to give them credit, they played through it and held it together enough to win that game," Volkmann said.

Kelsi Crawford, who came up with a game-high 23 kills, rallied the Wolverines from a 21-17 deficit with three straight kills. Teammate Brittney Noon, who had 21 kills, picked up on Crawford's example with two kills. Heather Theisen's ace serve with WDC leading 25-24 put the game away.

"We knew we had to go out and play very hard," Crawford said. "I think our leadership has gotten a lot better through the season."

Crawford also praised the Rebels for coming after the Wolverines hard after dropping the first two games.

"They are a really good team and I'm glad we got to play them," Crawford said.

The Wolverines were a 3-1 winner over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in an Oct. 19 match which gave the two clubs a chance to size the other up. Courtney Volkmann was the hero of that match with 38 assists, 10 digs and five ace serves. Volkmann knew going in that the Wolverines were ready for the all-important rematch with DGF.

"I thought we came out really strong, we came out ready to play," Volkmann said. We put them away the first two games and then we let them up kind of the third and they came back and beat us -- we knew they were capable of that."

Volkmann had 46 set assists in the victory to go along with 13 digs and two ace serves.

Hope Theisen led the Wolverines in digs with 18 while Mandy Perkins had 14 and Caitlin Volkmann had 11. Volkmann was 26 of 26 at the serving line.

Rachel Craig was the team's blocking leader with 16 while Kelly DeFoe came up with 11.

Sara Anderson paced the Rebels with 12 kills while Kaylee Penders contributed 11. Morgan Mathison had 19 assists.

The victory gave the Wolverines a 28-4 record going into the state tournament. WDC drew No. 1-ranked Marshall as a first round foe in a 5 p.m. match at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center. The Tigers finished second to Jordan in last year's state tournament. WDC lost to Hibbing and Delano.

Rounding out the eight-team Class AA field are New London-Spicer, Hibbing, Delano, Byron, LeSueur-Henderson and Minnehaha Academy.

WDC 25-25-19-26,

DGF 10-18-25-24

Kills-Courtney Volkmann-4, Kelly DeFoe-2, Rachael Carlisle-4, Brittney Noon-21, Rachel Craig-4, Kelsi Crawford-23

Defensive digs- Courtney Volkmann-13, Rachael Carlisle-2, Brittney Noon-5, Avery Jackson-8, Mandy Perkins-14, Rachel Craig-3, Caitlin Volkmann-11, Kelsi Crawford-9, Hope Theisen-18, Sydney Schissel-2

Serving-Courtney Volkmann-19 for 21 with 2 aces, Brittney Noon-5 for 6, Avery Jackson-10 for 10 with an ace, Mandy Perkins-9 for 10, Rachel Craig-2 for 3, Caitlin Volkmann-26 for 26, Kelsi Crawford-3 for 4 with 1 ace, Hope Theisen-9 for 9, Sydney Schissel-2 for 3, Heather Theisen-1 for 1 with 1 ace

Blocking-Courtney Volkmann-6, Kelly DeFoe-11, Rachael Carlisle-7, Rachel Craig-16, Kelsi Crawford-2

Setting Assists-Courtney Volkmann-46

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