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Wolverines open new season at home on Aug. 28

Wadena-Deer Creek's Kennedy Gravelle skies for the kill during the Class A State Tournament. Gravelle is one of the many key players back on the squad for the Wolverines in 2018. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal

The defending Section 6A volleyball championship winning team, Wadena-Deer Creek, kicks off its new season on Tuesday, Aug. 28 when they host the Pequot Lakes Patriots at 7:30 p.m. at the Wadena-Deer Creek High School gymnasium.

The Wolverines finished with a 26-8 record on their way to the Park Region Conference Championship, Section 6A Championship and fourth place at the Class A Championships. The Wolverines do return several key players from that squad. Setter Ashley Adams returns along with outside hitter Kylee Hopp and defensive specialist Kyla Ness. Key juniors returning to the squad will be middle hitter Kennedy Gravelle and libero Courtny Warren.

Ashley Adams

“The kids understand where they need to be. Our juniors and seniors are going to be the core of this team and they are the ones that played in the state tournament,” Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Sue Volkmann said. “They have the experience to do a good job.”

The returning squad will be joined by newcomers MacKenzie Carsten, Laura Krause, Mari Grendahl, Hailey Wiedrich and Maddison Carsten, who are expected to fill in on key spots.

Volkmann said the team’s season goals are to be in the running for the conference title and to have a good showing at the section tournament.

The Wolverines open the season with a familiar foe in Pequot Lakes. Wadena-Deer Creek earned a 3-1 victory to start the season last year over the Patriots. The Wolverines hope to continue their success against the Class AA power. The Wolverines have won the last three matches with the Patriots, including the 2016 Section 8AA semi final in which they beat the Patriots 3-0.

The Wolverines play another tough schedule, squaring off with Pequot Lakes, Perham, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Detroit Lakes, while playing the usually tough Park Region Conference schedule. The Wolverines will travel to Sauk Rapids-Rice for a tournament as well as Moorhead for an end of the season tournament. Volkmann said they want to gauge themselves against the better teams in the state.

“We have been trying to maintain that over the years,” Volkmann said. “It just makes you play better.”

The Wolverines take to the road after their season-opening contest when they take on the Perham Yellowjackets on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

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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