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Perham opens 8AA play with a playoff rematch

The Perham Yellowjackets open the Section 8AA playoffs at home against Crosby-Ironton on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. Photo courtesy of Kristen McMartin Photography

The Perham Yellowjacket volleyball team accomplished its first goal of the season when they captured a share of the Heart O’Lakes Conference Championship on Oct. 17 with a 3-2 victory over Pelican Rapids in the season finale.

Now, the Yellowjackets set their sights on the second season when they open the Section 8AA playoffs at home with Crosby-Ironton on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. The Yellowjackets earned the No. 3 seed from the south with their 15-11 overall mark.

The Yellowjackets will open with an unfamiliar opponent when they take on the Rangers in the playoff opener. The Rangers earned the sixth seed with a 16-10 record. They were 3-4 against section opponents on the season and finished with a 2-2 mark against Mid-State Conference opponents.

The Rangers closed out the regular season against some familiar opponents to the Yellowjackets. They finished the Fergus Falls Tournament with a 1-3 mark, earning a 2-0 victory over East Grand Forks, before falling to Breckenridge, Pelican Rapids and Fergus Falls.

Both teams play a vastly different schedule, facing only four common opponents. Both Perham and Crosby-Ironton squared off with Park Rapids Area, Detroit Lakes, Breckenridge and Pelican Rapids. The Yellowjackets held a 3-1 record against those four teams, with their lone loss coming to the south No. 1 seed, Park Rapids Area. Crosby-Ironton was winless against the four teams, winning just two sets in the four games. They took one from Park Rapids Area earlier in the season and grabbed one from Detroit Lakes as well.

The Rangers are a junior laden team, entering the contest with just three seniors and six juniors. While the two teams are not familiar with each other this year, they have squared off in the past. The Yellowjackets defeated Crosby-Ironton, 3-1, in the same playoff spot a year ago. In last year’s win, Olivia Strand led the offensive charge with 12 kills. Janie Wunderlich and Abbey Zepper added eight kills each. Those three members are gone from this year’s team. Gabby DeBoer finished with eight kills in the win. Lisa Meader, Hannah Ekse and Allie King all played a role in last year’s win over Crosby-Ironton. The experience from last year, along with DeBoer’s state tournament experience should help the Yellowjackets in the postseason as they hope to make a deep run in Section 8AA.

The Roseau Rams earned the No. 1 seed from the north, while the defending Section 8AA champions, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton secured the No. 2 seed in the north. Park Rapids Area is the No. 1 seed from the south, while Pequot Lakes earned the No. 2 seed. Pequot Lakes opens with Staples-Motley, who garnered the No. 7 seed. If the Yellowjackets and the Patriots win, their quarterfinal round contest would take place in Pequot Lakes on Oct. 27.

The Section 8AA Championship is scheduled for Nov. 4 at a site to be determined.

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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