The last two Section 6A champions squared off with a pair of winning streaks on the line. The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines won the Section 6A title in 2017, while New York Mills won it in 2018. The teams entered the contest on top of the Park Region Conference at 4-0, while Wadena-DC was winners of seven straight and perfect at home, the Eagles were winners of four straight.
The back-and-forth affair was finally settled when Madison Carsten put down the game-ending kill in game five, helping the Wolverines to a 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 24-26 and 15-13 victory over the Eagles on Oct. 3 in Wadena.
Kennedy Gravelle finished with a team-high 29 kills and said it was what they expected from the defending section champions.
“It was exciting. We were expecting it to be a good game and it sure was,” Gravelle said. “They were really scrappy and could pick up a lot of things. They attacked at us hard. We were able to handle it well. It was equally matched.”
The Eagles showed Gravelle and the Wolverines different looks differently, forcing the Wolverines to make adjustments throughout the night.
“It was just working around different angles with hits and placing the ball around as a team and placing it where they are not,” Gravelle said. “As the game went on, we were able to figure out those spots and we executed well on that.”
Carsten finished with 13 kills, while Lauryn Gravelle and MacKenzie Carsten each had four. Ashley Lepinski and Katelyn Gardner finished with three each, coming at timely spots in the match.
“It’s awesome and it’s so much fun to see them grow,” Gravelle said. “Seeing them get excited and having everyone be a part of the team where everyone has their role, it is exciting to see. It’s so awesome. I love it.”
Just like much of the match, the fifth and final game was back-and-forth. Wadena-DC grabbed the lead early at 7-5, but the Eagles stormed back to take a 9-7 lead forcing a time out. Wadena-DC grabbed the lead at 10-9 after a 3-0 run, but the teams would trade points. Gravelle gave Wadena-DC the lead at 13-12, but it was answered on a kill by Karli Kawleski. Gravelle followed with a kill to make it 14-13 and the match came to a close when Madison Carsten ended it with a kill. Carsten slipped on the play and popped back to her feet as the ball was being set to her for the win.
“The adrenaline was definitely running in that one, I think through everyone,” Gravelle said. “It was hard fought and it was close.”
The match for most of the night featured several close games. Wadena-DC used a late run to take game one, while Eagles erased a deficit in game two with both teams taking a game 25-22.
The Wolverines responded from a six-point deficit in the third game, winning 25-23, taking a 2-1 lead in the match. The Eagles erased a deficit in game four, turning a 17-12 deficit into a 26-24 win and forcing the fifth game.
The Wolverines were able to close out the fifth game on back-to-back kills from Madison Carsten and Gravelle.
Courtny Warren finished with 32 digs for Wadena-DC, while Mackenzie Carsten finished with 49 set assists.
The Wolverines moved to 12-4 overall on the season and 5-0 in the Park Region Conference. They remained perfect at home, while the Eagles fall to 15-5 overall and 4-1 in the Park Region Conference.
The Wolverines are back in action against Barnesville on Oct. 7 in Barnesville. The Trojans eliminated the Wolverines from the Section 6A playoffs last year.