The Perham Yellowjackets picked up their third straight win in a Heart O’Lakes conference matchup against the Hawley Nuggets on Monday night in Perham.
The game stayed back and forth for the majority of the night. Perham fell in the first set 25-26. But, they rallied to come back in the second building up the momentum for their team for the rest of the matchup. They won the second 25-23. Hawley picked up the third by a score of 25-20. But, Perham pushed through and sealed the game in the fourth and fifth sets with scores of 25-21 and 15-9.
But, the Yellowjackets battled to take a 3-2 win against the Nuggets. Head coach Nikki Bruns said her team didn't come out as strong and ready to go as they needed to to come out swinging.
“We needed to find something that was clicking for us,” Bruns said. “We are having a tough time coming out of the gate ready to go and we slowly build our momentum as the game goes on.”
Perham found some pace in the low points but for the most part were evenly matched with a strong improved Hawley team. Bruns said that she was proud of her team for being able to push through even when they were in their low points.
“I am very proud of them for continuing to battle,” Bruns said. “ Hawley is much improved. They are a great program she has a great job with them, especially since the first time we saw them they were definitely a great team to play.”
Throughout the season Bruns has talked about staying consistent on different aspects of the Perham game play. That includes staying aggressive and staying confident and consistent on the blocks. Jaden Hackel led the Yellowjackets in blocks during Monday’s matchup collecting three. She was closely followed by Stella Raser and Willow Thiel, who had 2 and 1 respectively.
“We have definitely had more touches on the block,” Bruns said. “The biggest thing is, when we are struggling, to make sure it doesn't last as long and that we can dig out quicker.”
Raser also led the offensive for the Yellowjackets tallying 15 kills. Bruns said that she has seen growth in Raser’s ability throughout the season. She said that growth allows for trust from other teammates and the ability to rely on Raser to get the job done.
“She has been very effective through the season already and she has become a very smart hitter,” Bruns said.
With schools around the area losing athletic practice and game time, Bruns said that she is approaching her coaching as she would any other season. She hopes to make volleyball a safe and positive place to get her athletes away from the negativity surrounding COVID-19 concerns. The Yellowjackets continue to play day by day.
“Our biggest thing is to keep things as positive as possible,” Bruns said. “We always look to find the positive in everything that we struggle in.”
Next up for the Yellowjackets is a matchup against Pelican Rapids on Thursday. Bruns said her team is preparing to bounce back quickly and be aggressive in their pursuit of the win. She said that it should be a fun game for both sides.
“Another scrappy team we have to make sure we stay aggressive on our end,” Bruns said. “They have improved a lot and we have to make sure that we are ready to go.”
Perham 3, Hawley 2 (25-26, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21,15-9)
Kills: Stella Raser 15, Lily DeBoer 14, Willow Thiel 8, Katie Johnson 7, Jaden Hackel 3, Sydney Anderson 2
Assists: Katie Johnson 39, Sydney Anderson 2, Jaden Hackel 1, Grayce Mickelson 1
Aces: Lily DeBoer 3, Sydney Anderson 2, Katie Johnson 1, Stella Raser 1, Gayce Mickelson 1
Digs: Grayce Mickelson 34, Sydney Anderson 28, Katie Johnson 26, Lily DeBoer 21, Lily Lorenson 16, Stella Raser 12, Jaden Hackel 7, Willow Thiel 5, Audrey Potrament 4
Blocks: Jaden Hackel 3, Stella Raser 2, Willow Thiel 1