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Perham collects win in rematch after Thursday loss

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Perham Yellowjacket Stella Raser (15) goes for a kill during Saturday's match up against Barnesville in Perham. (Natalie Hilden/ Perham Focus)
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The Perham Yellowjackets came together for a comeback Saturday afternoon.

A clean 3-0 sweep of Barnesville came after a rough matchup Thursday night for the Yellowjackets. On Thursday their four game winning streak was shattered. But, head coach Nikki Bruns said she thinks the nerves is what got to her players in the first game.

“The biggest piece was we found out we had some challenges with quarantine and with COVID so that got us a little nervous and with a reality check,” Bruns said. “ That kind of happened and we had a lot of opportunities to learn from our mistakes.”

Perham lost Thursday’s match 25-18, 25-18 and 25-22. Barnesville came out swinging and scrappy. Bruns added that the Trojans are a talented team and a well coached team. She said that her team had mistakes on Thursday night but looked forward to fixing them for Saturday’s second game.

On Saturday, Perham had come out firing with strong offensive moves by both Lily DeBoer and Stella Raser. Raser tallied 16 kills leading the Yellowjackets followed by DeBoer who had 6 kills for the night. Willow Thiel was also a strong offensive player throughout the match up with Barnesville she tallied 11 kills.

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Perham blew by Barnesville taking all three sets, a completely different scene from Thursday night’s loss. They won all three sets by scores of 25-19, 25-11 and 25-10

“We decided that we were going to get back to having fun playing volleyball,” Bruns said. “Mixing up our hitters was a big thing we did and just defense. We decided to have the mentality that we didn't want them to score on us.”

Bruns said that strong and smart hits have been very influential to her team going through the season. She said her team is focusing on the fact they are working towards playoffs even though COVID-19 has made each day more uncertain.

“She (Raser) has been understanding how to be a smart player and defensively, when she serves and plays in the back row, she has figured out where she needs to be to play defense,” Bruns said. “Lily DeBoer also has been a huge rock for us and I couldn't be prouder of both of them.”

The Yellowjackets are facing a difficult part of their schedule going into the next few weeks leading into the postseason. They will face Breckenridge on Monday night, followed by Frazee-Vergas on Thursday. The following week they will have home matchup with Detroit Lakes and finish up with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

“They are going to attack us and they are very strong attackers,” Bruns said. “ We have to make sure that we execute the way we did today.”

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Perham 3, Barnesville 0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-10)
Kills: Stella Raser 16, Willow Thiel 11, Lily DeBoer 6, Sydney Anderson 5, Jaden Hackel 4, Katie Johnson 3
Aces: Lily DeBoer 5,Sydney Anderson 3, Katie Johnson 2, Stella Raser 1, Grayce Mickelson 1
Blocks: Lily DeBoer 1
Assists: Katie Johnson 41, Lily Lorenson 3, Grayce Mickelson 2, Lily DeBoer 1, Stella Raser 1, Sydney Anderson 1
Digs: Grayce Mickelson 16, Lily DeBoer 11, Lily Lorenson 10, Sydney Anderson 9, Stella Raser 8, Katie Johnson 6, Jaden Hackel 2, Willow Thiel 2

Natalie Hilden is the Sports Editor at the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal. Hilden graduated from South Dakota State University in May of 2020. She came back to Northern Minnesota the place she has called home since she graduated from Nevis High School in 2017.
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