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Volleyball: Gravelle notches 1,000th assist in a milestone-heavy night for Wadena-Deer Creek

Sophomore Addyson Gravelle didn't know how close she was to her 1,000th career assist, which is why he was confused when Thursday's match stopped after what she though was a routine point in the first set. While her focus was on getting head coach Sue Volkmann her 600th career win, the Wolverines stopped to celebrate another milestone against the Bears of Bertha-Hewitt.

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Wadena-Deer Creek's Jenna Dykhoff, left, celebrates Addyson Gravelle's 1,000th career assist with the sophomore on Sept. 22, 2022 in the Wolverines' 3-0 win over Bertha-Hewitt.
Devlyn Brooks / Wadena Pioneer Journal
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Editor's note: A full story on Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Sue Volkmann's 600th career win will be posted on Friday morning.

BERTHA, Minn. – The Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team coasted to its sixth consecutive victory, and eighth overall on the season, Thursday night, beating Bertha-Hewitt in straight sets 25-9, 25-11, 25-18.

The Wolverines improved to 8-3 on the season on a night that featured important career milestones for both sophomore setter Addyson Gravelle and head coach Sue Volkmann. Gravelle notched her 1,000th setting assist on a night where she tallied 34 assists and three digs.

Meanwhile, with the win, Volkmann reached 600 career wins as a volleyball coach at first Deer Creek, and subsequently at the merged schools of Wadena-Deer Creek. She joins only 12 other high school volleyball coaches in Minnesota history with that many wins.

The Bears never seriously challenged Wadena-Deer Creek in the match, although a late surge kept the third set close. The Park Region Conference foe pushed the Wolverines to a 15-15 tie, but Wadena-Deer Creek went on 10-3 scoring run in to close out the match and bring on the celebration for Volkmann.

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Wadena-Deer Creek's Addyson Gravelle's earns 1,000th career assists on Sept. 22, 2022 in the Wolverines' 3-0 win over Bertha-Hewitt.
Contributed / Doug Dutke

The Wolverines senior hitting pair of Madison Carsten and Emily Lepinski gave the Bears fits all night, who didn’t seem to have an answer for their brutal hitting attack. Carsten tallied 16 kills, and Lepinksi added another eight.

Wadena-Deer Creek also scored seven serving aces as a team in a dominating performance.

Gravelle’s 1,000th assist fittingly came late in the first set when she dished a perfect set to Carsten, who hammered home one of her monster kills. After the team celebrated the big play, Gravelle headed to the back line to prepare to serve the next point.

That’s when one of her teammates on the Wolverines bench surprised her by getting her attention on the court and holding up a sign announcing that it was Gravelle’s 1,000th career assist. Gravelle, who stood holding the volleyball, looked confused at the interruption in the game before eventually understanding the moment. That’s when she broke out in an ear-to-ear grin.

Volkmann called a timeout, giving Gravelle and the team a chance to enjoy the moment. As Gravelle walked off the court, her teammates mobbed her with smiles, hugs and high fives. She then posed for photos with the 1,000th assist sign and all of her teammates.

Gravelle has been setting for the Wolverines since she was in eighth grade. Already, as a sophomore, hit a milestone that most players never reach in a career. And that includes one shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volkmann said after the game she was excited for the setter who continuously works so hard to improve.

For her part, it seemed that the size of the moment still hadn’t quite set in for Gravelle.

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“I honestly didn’t know that I was that close to 1,000,” she said. “I thought I had a ways to go. I’m just stunned that I got 1,000 (assists).”

Gravelle said that the team was motivated to lock down a win for Volkmann, and she was all smiles thinking about the fact their big nights happened together.

“We really wanted this for her 600th,” she said.

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The Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team cleebrates Addyson Gravelle's 1,000th career assists as the WDC setter in a 3-0 win over Bertha-Hewitt on Sept 22, 2022.
Contributed / Doug Dutke

Gravelle said the most memorable part of the night was getting to enjoy the milestone while playing with her younger sister, Payton Gravelle, an eighth-grader who plays middle hitter. She also had a memorable night with four kills, three digs, a serving ace and a block.

“I really can’t explain how I am feeling after tonight,” Gravelle said.

WADENA-DEER CREEK 3, BERTHA-HEWITT 0

(25-9, 25-11, 25-18)

Kills - Madison Carsten - 16, Emily Lepinski - 8, Kennedy Ness - 6, Isabelle Larson - 4, Payton Gravelle - 4

Digs - Montana Carsten - 11, Maddie Carsten - 7, Jada Dykhoff - 5, Payton Gravelle - 3, Addy Gravelle - 3, Isabelle Larson - 2, Katrina Moench - 2

Aces - Montana Carsten - 4, Jada Dykhoff - 2, Payton Gravelle - 1

Blocks - Payton Gravelle - 1

Setting Assists - Addy Gravelle - 34

Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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