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Perham rallies for share of HOL Conference crown

The Perham Yellowjackets celebrate a point during their five game victory over Pelican Rapids, clinching a share of the HOL Championship. Photos courtesy of Kristin McMartin Photography

The Perham Yellowjackets turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win and captured a share of the Heart O’Lakes Conference Championship with their victory over Pelican Rapids in the volleyball season finale on Oct. 17 in Perham.

The Yellowjackets expected a grind it out battle with the Vikings when they earned a 25-19, 18-25, 20-25, 25-13 and 15-7 victory over their conference foes.

“We went into the match knowing this was a team that played well defensively. We knew our hits would not go down right away and that we had to wear them down both physically and mentally,” Perham head coach Eryn Moser said. “I thought our girls did a good job of holding on and realizing the more we hit, the better our chances we had of our hits becoming kills. By game five, Pelican Rapids was showing signs of weariness and I thought our girls did a good job of going after game five.”

Hannah Ekse led the way on senior night with 14 kills. Gabby DeBoer finished with 12 kills as well for the Yellowjackets, who honored their seniors with their final home game of the regular season. Gracie DeBoer and Rachel Muer finished with seven kills each.

The Yellowjackets found themselves down 2-1 and Moser said the team adjusted well and did not falter to falling behind. She said you can either fight or give up when you are down 2-1 and the girls did a good job of fighting through it and pressing on.

The Yellowjackets responded in a big way, dismantling the Vikings, 25-13, in the fourth game, sending it to a fifth game.

Moser said one of the keys for the win was the team’s play from their bench. She stated they did a great job of coming in and being very consistent, which is a good sign with the postseason looming for the Yellowjackets.

They followed the game four win, with a game five win, defeating Pelican Rapids, 15-7. The victory improved the Yellowjackets to 5-1 in the Heart O’Lakes Conference, sharing the title with DGF, who also finished 5-1.

“We, as a team, had a goal of being one of the best teams in our conference. We set our goals at the beginning of hte season and one of them was to be conference champs,” Moser said. “We knew that was not going to be an easy feat. Our conference is very tough this season. I thought our girls went into every conference match knowing it wasn’t going to be easy, but played with consistency, poise and pulled out those tough matches. To finish 5-1 in our conference is a great pat on the back to our girls.”

Allie King dished out 24 assists, while Aixa Kolofale handed out 19 of her own. The service game was strong again with just five errors in 103 attempts. The Yellowjackets had 12 ace serves as a team with Lisa Meader finishing with four of them. Rachel Muer added three, while Sydney Riepe finished with two.

The Yellowjackets now set their sights on the Section 8AA Tournament. The playoffs begin on Thursday, Oct. 26. The Yellowjackets are expected to open the postseason at home, but the matchups won’t be announced until Oct. 20 when the QRF is finalized.

PER def. Pelican Rapids 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, 25-13, 15-7

PER-Allie King 1K, 24SA, 1AS, 24D; Hannah Ekse 14K, 3D; Laura Alstadt 6K, 3D; Gracie DeBoer 7K, 2SA, 6D; Gabby DeBoer 13K, 1AS, 26D; Rachel Muer 7K, 3AS, 4D; Lisa Meader 4AS, 36D; Aixa Kolofale 19SA, 11D; Kolbey Bormann 5D; Sydney Riepe 2K, 2AS, 1D; Tayler Parks 12D.

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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