Otters eliminate Yellowjackets 3-1 in Subsection final
WADENA — Drastic switches in momentum and adapting strategies highlighted a 3-1 Fergus Falls Otters victory over No. 1 seed Perham in the South Subsection final of Minnesota Section 8AA volleyball Tuesday evening.
No. 2 Fergus Falls won the match by set scores of 25-23, 25-14, 26-28, 25-21.
The Otters got off to a fast start and led 19-11 in the first set before Perham stormed back outscoring Fergus Falls 12-4 to a tie at 23. Back-to-back points from Anna Monke and the set winner by Kristin Traiser down the line pushed momentum to the Otter sideline after the 25-23 win.
“We work really hard to play a fast offense that not many teams can keep up with,” Monke said. “Our blocking was really on tonight which put them down right away and made it so they weren't as confident in their offense and had to play a defensive game the whole night while we got to play our offensive game.”
Fergus Falls jumped on the Yellowjackets early in the second set leading by as many as 11 points cruising to a 2-0 match lead. The Otters controlled net play in the second and forced Perham to adjust their game plan on the brink of elimination.
“We’ve got a big block,” Fergus Falls Head Coach Renee Erickson said. “I think they got frustrated with that but all they did was change to a roll shot and tip the ball to the middle a lot.”
Perham found success with quick sets to the outside in the third set while using dink shots to open areas of the Otter defense, especially in the middle.
“That’s probably our weakest spot,” said Monke. “They were very smart for doing that.”
Perham left the floor after the second set in a private time out and came back blazing after falling behind 4-0 early.
“Well coached, without a doubt,” Erickson said. “Eryn Moser used her time outs real well.”
The score was tied 14 times in set three to 26-all. A tip shot by Tina Scheidecker tied the score at 26 for Perham; she followed that with a kill at the Otter backline before Jacket setter Allie Christenson faked a set and tipped the ball behind her head to an open front corner for the set-winner 28-26.
Fergus Falls again jumped out to a lead in the fourth set, 10-4, forcing the defending Yellowjackets to claw their way back into the match.
Perham closed to a 19-18 deficit before Fergus Falls put on a final scoring run 6-3 to take the match. Brianna Rasmusson had the match-winning kill.
Perham was outmatched in height at the net and found ways to stay in the game.
While Fergus Falls was the No. 2 seed in the south subsection, they were the better team Tuesday evening.
The Otters (24-6) move on to face Thief River Falls (26-4) in the Section 8AA final. The No. 1 seeded Prowlers defeated No. 3 Hawley 3-0 in the North Subsection.
“They match up very evenly with us and they are power on the net,” Erickson said. “They’ll come at us, without a doubt.”
Perham ends its season with a record of 26-3. Tuesday’s loss was the first loss in a regulation match all season. The Yellowjackets prior two defeats were in three-set tournament matches to ranked opponents.
Fergus Falls 3, Perham 1 (25-23, 25-14, 26-28, 25-21)
FF (kills-blocks-aces): Rasmusson x-12-1 (37 assists), Boese x-2-0, Gaustad x-5-0 (33 digs), Traiser x-6-0, Monke x-7-0, Harworth 1 ace, Smith 37 digs, 1 ace.
PER: T. Scheidecker 14-1-0 (17 digs), Rutten 10-0-0, Erickson 3-0-2, Von Ruden 2-0-0, Christenson 1-0-0 (27 assists), Slettebak 1-0-0, A. Scheidecker 1-0-1, Schmitz 18 digs.