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Defense has been key to WDC success on court

Sue Volkmann and her Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines opened Section 8AA volleyball action in the cross-hairs of a lot of clubs.

That is what you can expect when you are the defending section champs.

The Wolverines racked up a nice 24-4 record during the regular season and were ranked 10th in the final Class AA state poll.

Defense has been the key to WDC's success this season. The back row quartet, which includes junior Mandy Perkins, sophomore Avery Jackson, freshman Caitlin Volkmann and eighth-grader Hope Theisen, came up with 927 digs in the regular season. Theisen has really been surprising the competition with her excellent libero play. Volkmann has missed only one serve all year.

Volkmann's and Theisen's addition to the varsity has been a vital one for the Wolverines who lost two starters to graduation.

"It just took some time for them to come up to the speed of the game," Volkmann said.

Courtney Volkmann, Kelsi Crawford and Rachael Carlisle have supplied the kind of on-court leadership that Volkmann was looking for after losing some key starters.

Courtney, a starter since the eighth grade, is having a superb season at setter. Her 661 assists have made WDC's offense go. She has also come up with 213 digs and 109 ace serves. Crawford has 182 kills at her middle hitter position. Carlisle has supplied 108 blocks.

WDC's top hitter during the regular season was Brittney Noon with 271. Noon was the team's No. 2 offensive player last year behind Brigetta Berg, Craig and Kelly DeFoe have been defensive mainstays at the line with 187 and 130 blocks respectively.

Volkmann's club suffered their four losses in tournament play to Alexandria, Bemidji, Annandale and Mabel-Canton. They earned the No. 1 ranking in the Southern Division and have their sights set high. Last year's club broke a 16-year drought by beating East Grand Forks to advance to the state tournament.