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Wolverines win fourth straight 8AA title

Photo by Brian Hansel The WDC volleyball team was jubilant after receiving their fourth straight Section 8AA championship trophy.1 / 5
Photo by Brian Hansel WDC's Addie Dunker shows her support for the Wolverines Saturday night at the Section 8AA finals in Hawley.2 / 5
Photo by Brian Hansel Heather Theisen (9) pops the ball up for a return.3 / 5
Photo by Brian Hansel The Wolverines celebrate a point in Game 2.4 / 5
Photo by Brian Hansel WDC outside hitter Brittney Noon (5) spikes a shot against Thief River Falls' Taylor Storm (7) and Meleah Biermaier (5).5 / 5

The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines punched their own ticket to the Class AA state volleyball tournament last Saturday by whipping Thief River Falls in the Section 8AA championship match.

The Wolverines won 25-15, 25-18 and 25-20 to qualify for their fourth straight trip to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It was the final rung on the ladder for Sue Volkmann's state-ranked club.

"We wanted to win it again," WDC libero Hope Theisen said. "We wanted to go back to state."

The Wolverines earned the No. 4 seed and drew Visitation as a first round opponent at state.

Caitlin Volkmann is one of three Wolverines that have made all three previous trips to state. Earning a fourth trip was exactly what the junior outside hitter was after when the season started.

"It's always fun every year we go down there," Volkmann said.

The pleasure of reaching state again was denied one of WDC's starters. Defensive specialist Avery Jackson suffered a sprained ankle in the final game with Thief River and had to be taken in for treatment. Jackson will have to settle for a limited role in this year's state tournament.

The Wolverines trailed 8-5 when Jackson was injured but they used her absence to rally past the Prowlers, outscoring them 20-12 the rest of the way.

"When she (Jackson) got hurt we knew we had to keep going," middle hitter Emily Miron said.

The Wolverines only reached the section finals by coming from a 2-1 deficit Tuesday night to defeat Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 3-2. The Rebels, who played in the northern half of Section 8AA until this year, were out to avenge a 3-1 loss to WDC in the final regular season match of the season.

Sue Volkmann was happy to see her team qualify for another state trip but did not feel the Wolverines gave the kind of effort they were capable of giving.

"We kind of played down to the competition, not that we took Thief River Falls lightly," Volkmann said.

Brittney Noon had 19 kills for the Wolverines while Miron contributed 18. Hope Theisen was WDC's digs leader with 23. Heather Theisen and Sydney Schissel combined for 25. Heather Theisen also came up with 44 assists.

The victory sent the Wolverines into the state tournament with a 26-4 record. After winning the state title last year with a 33-0 mark Miron expected her team to be a target at state.

"We definitely have a big target on our back but we definitely want to win too," Miron said.

Marshall is seeded No. 1 in Class AA. Other ranked teams include Jordan (2) and Stewartville (4). Marshall opens with Esko at 5 p.m. Thursday while WDC is facing Visitation on the other Xcel volleyball court. Jordan plays Sauk Centre and Stewartville tangles with Maple Lake in the 7 p.m. matches.

The winner of the WDC-Visitation match plays Marshall or Esko at 5 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The Class AA consolation, third place and championship matches are slated for 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Section 8AA Championship

Wadena-Deer Creek 25-25-25,

Thief River Falls 15-18-20

Kills - Brittney Noon-19, Emily Miron-18, Caitlin Volkmann-9

Digs - Brittney Noon-6, Emily Miron-2, Avery Jackson-7, Caitlin Volkmann-9, Morgan Lugert-5, Hope Theisen-23, Heather Theisen-13, Sydney Schissel-12

Serving - Brittney Noon-11 for 12 with an ace, Caitlin Volkmann-11 for 11, Avery Jackson-7 for 8 with an ace, Hope Theisen-6 for 6, Sydney Schissel-8 for 9, Heather Theisen-18 for 19 with 2 aces, Morgan Lugert-6 for 6

Blocking - Caitlin Volkmann-3, Avery Jackson-2, Brittney Noon-7, Emily Miron-6, Halley Maas-1

Setting Assists - Heather Theisen-44