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Wolverines advance with sweep of New York Mills

Wadena-Deer Creek's Casey Volkmann drives it by the New York Mills block and just inside the line for a kill in the second set of Wadena-Deer Creek's 3-0 victory over New York Mills. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal

The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines showcased their balance and dominant attack in a convincing 25-21, 25-14 and 25-15 victory over New York Mills in the Section 6A quarterfinals at Kennedy Secondary School in Fergus Falls on Oct. 31.

Casey Volkmann led the way with 20 kills, while Ellie Miron added 12 and Kennedy Gravelle finished with eight kills in the win. Gravelle helped lead a dominant block as well in the victory.

“I think we played really well. The first time we played them during the season, we came out kind of slow and only played as good as we needed to beat them,” Volkmann said. “Tonight, we did a good job of playing as well as we could to beat them cleanly.”

Courtny Warren

Volkmann said it was good to have everyone clicking in the victory. Miron caught fire early in the first set with a trio of early kills and a block. Having multiple hitters clicking on all cylinders makes the Wolverines one of the toughest teams to defend.

“It’s super fun. Having everyone going well, brings more energy for everyone, whether you are the one who gets the point or not,” Volkmann said. “Having so many people contribute helps their self-esteem and it helps everyone else as well.”

New York Mills came out swinging in set one. It was even for most of the set with Tiffany Thompson, Karli Kawlewski and Madalyn Erp coming up with key kills. Neither team could get more than a one point lead throughout the first set until the Wolverines scored five of the final six points. Mari Grendahl dropped an ace serve, making it 24-21, before the Wolverines ended it 25-21.

The Wolverines wasted little time in taking control of the second set. They scored 11 of the first 12 points and were rarely tested. Lila Lohmiller set the tone at the service line. She served the first seven points, which included a pair of aces. Along with her service game, the attack of Volkmann started to heat up. She finished with eight of her 19 kills in the second set. The Wolverines cruised to a 25-14 in in set two.

Kennedy Gravelle

“We had a lot of energy and that’s the key for us every game,” Volkmann said. “When we have a lot of energy, we always play better.”

The Wolverines and the Eagles traded the lead in the early parts of the third set with neither team able to get much separation. However, the Wolverines scored 14 of the final 19 points, pulling away for a comfortable 25-15 win. Ashley Adams dropped in an ace serve, which was surrounded by a block and a kill from Miron to close out the match.

The Wolverines improve to 23-6 overall and will now take on Barnesville in the Section 6A semi-finals at 7 p.m. in Pelican Rapids. The Trojans advanced with a 3-1 win victory over Pelican Rapids. It was a measure of revenge for Barnesville, who dropped a 3-1 decision to their Heart O’Lakes Conference rival earlier in the season. The Trojans will carry a 22-7 mark into the contest.

Ellie Miron

Volkmann said they will need to come out strong right away in their next game.

“We were all super nervous, coming into a rivalry game like this,” Volkmann said. “We need to know that we are a good team and come out stronger.”

Ashley Adams with the set

Wadena-DC def. New York Mills 25-21, 25-13, 25-15

WDC: Casey Volkmann 20K, 1AS, 2B, 10D; Ashley Adams 2AS, 2D, 3K, 2D, 39 SA; Ellie Miron 12K, 5B; Kennedy Gravelle 8K, 2B; Lila Lohmiller 1K, 15D; Kylee Hopp 1B; Kyla Ness 1AS, 7D; Aly Daignault 1K, Courtny Warren 3D, Mari Grendahl 1AS, 1D.

Wadena-DC 3

Norman County East/U-H 0

It was a strong start to the Section 6A playoffs for the Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team when they defeated Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal 25-11, 25-14, 25-7 in the opening round on Oct. 27 in Wadena.

The Wolverines had to wait an extra day after weather postponed the start of the tournament, but the wait didn’t slow them down. The Wolverines bounced back from a bit of a struggle in the Moorhead Tournament to close out the season.

The final home game for the senior class ended as expected in the opening round. The Wolverines did not drop a single set on their home turf, posting a 6-0 record at home during the season, including the first round of the playoffs. The Wolverines went 14-2 on their home court the last two years.

Casey Volkmann finished with 18 kills, while Ellie Miron added 10 kills. Kennedy Gravelle finished with seven kills and six blocks at the net for the Wolverines.

Ashley Adams dished out 37 assists and three blocks. The service game was on again for the Wolverines with Lila Lohmiller dropping in five ace serves. Katlyn Heaton, Kyla Ness and Volkmann finished with two ace serves each. Mari Grendahl added an ace as well in the sweep.

Lohmiller helped the Wolverines separate themselves from Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal in the first game. She stepped to the service line with the Wolverines up by a point. She followed with five straight ace serves, while serving seven straight points, giving the Wolverines the 16-8 lead. Volkmann closed the set out at the service line, serving the final two points, giving the Wolverines the set one win, 25-11.

Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal battled in the second set, but could not get any momentum going against the top-seeded Wolverines. They hung tough early, but the Wolverines proved to be too much for the visitors, winning set two 25-14.

Heaton’s service game helped the Wolverines jump to a 13-4 lead in set three. The service game continued to roll for the Wolverines with Lohmiller closing it out at the line, serving out the final four points, helping Wadena-DC win 25-7.

Wadena-DC def. Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal 25-11, 25-14, 25-7

WDC: Casey Volkmann 18K, 3B, 1AS, 11D, 2AS; Ashley Adams 1K, 3B, 37SA, 1D; Ellie Miron 10K, 4B; Kennedy Gravelle 7K, 6B; Lila Lohmiller 2K, 13D, 5AS; Katlyn Heaton 6D, 2AS; Kyla Ness 1K, 2D, 2AS; Aly Daigneault 1K; Courtny Warren 5D; Mari Grendahl 2D, 1AS

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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