Halt to volleyball stopped Wolverines impressive season

Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball captain Katelyn Gardner sends the ball back to where it belongs in a game during the 2020 season. Photo courtesy Doug Dutke

With an 8-1 season coming to a screeching halt Nov. 20, the Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team will never know just how far they might have gone in the 2020 season.

Still the team was glad to have had the opportunity to play in a year where any group activities were under extra scrutiny to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

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Coach Sue Volkmann, who finished off her 33rd year of coaching, said this year was anything but normal. Even so, the work ethic was strong from summer on through the fall season.

“We had a great group of kids,” Volkmann said. “They worked hard when they had the opportunity to do so. We did get quarantined for two and half weeks.”

Some area teams missed even more of the season due to COVID-19 exposure. WDC played just nine out of a typical 27-30 games. Volkmann said when they played that last game against Menahga, they knew it would be the last of their season. They handled the Braves quite easily in three out of four sets.


“After last spring we appreciated the fact that we got to play at all,” Volkmann said.

While the team performed well under difficult circumstances, Volkmann said one of the hardest parts of the season was the lack of crowds, the cheering, the usual spirit that comes out during a more typical season where fans pack into the stands and do their best to show more support than the opposition. It just couldn’t happen this season with limitations on capacity and the need to distance viewers.

Like everyone else, Volkmann is hopeful for an upcoming season without the virus. The team loses one senior, captain Katelyn Gardner. There is a great deal of talent rising up in the ranks with five juniors and a number of lower grades making significant contributions to the team. If a season takes off as usual next year fans should see another excellent season of Wolverine volleyball. Hopefully they can see it in person.

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The Wolverines volleyball team celebrates a kill during a game against the Bertha-Hewitt Bears in their season opener. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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