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Strong field for annual Perham Volleyball Invitational

A Section 8AA Volleyball Tournament preview may take place on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Prairie Wind Middle School gymnasium and the Perham Area Community Center when the Yellowjackets host the annual Perham Invitational.

Four of the top five teams in the North half of the subsection, along with two of the top three teams in the south half of the subsection will be participating in the annual 16 team tournament.

"We really considered this a tough tournament. It's a great section tournament where we will see a lot of our section favorites with Roseau, Thief River Falls and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton," Perham head coach Eryn Moser said. "It's a great competitive tournament."

The last two champions of the tournament are back as well. Roseau defeated Perham in 2015, capturing the title, while Sauk Centre knocked off Perham in the 2014 tournament.

The Yellowjackets were able to avenge the loss to Roseau in the section championship, earning a trip to state with the win. The Yellowjackets use this tournament as a good opportunity to scout and look at some teams they will see down the line.

"We know going into this tournament that there are some really good teams and that we will have to play our best to get to that championship game," Moser said. "We are going to have to compete to win that tournament."

Along with the strong contingent of Class AA teams, the tournament will feature some powers from Class A. Sebeka, fresh off a trip to state in 2015, is the top seeded team in the north half of Section 6A. Fosston is currently second in their subsection in Section 8A, while Lake of the Woods is third in their subsection. Those three teams, along with Perham, make up one of the four round robin pools. The winners of each pool will face off in the semifinals, with the winners advancing to the championship game. Perham's games will be played at the Prairie Wind Middle School.

"Sebeka is having a great season. They are a class below us and play a lot of Class A schools," Moser said. "We consider them a pretty competitive team. They went to state last year; we have high expectations for what they are going to bring to us. I don't know a lot about Fosston or Lake of the Woods, but I know they come from pretty good programs."

The second tournament pool will feature DGF, Park Rapids, Henning and Frazee, those games will be at the Prairie Wind Middle School as well. Sauk Centre, Thief River Falls, Detroit Lakes and May-Port-CG will play at the PACC in the third pool. Roseau, Melrose, Hawley and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley round out the field in the fourth pool, also taking place at the PACC.

"We look at this as an opportunity to see and play in our own home gym. We see that as an advantage for us," Moser said. "We group these pools according to their QRF. The top eight teams we placed two in each pool."

It's the third and final tournament of the season that the Yellowjackets will participate in. It provides them a unique chance to see their section opponents, while giving them an opportunity to improve their game.

"We want take this opportunity to play these good teams," Moser said. "Win or lose it gives us an opportunity to see what we need to work on the most."

Pool play begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning at both the PACC and the Prairie Wind Middle School gymnasium. The championship game is expected to start round 4 p.m., but that is subject to change, pending on the duration of the games leading up to the championship round.

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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