Wolverines spoil Perham’s home opener

For much of the night, it appeared the Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team was going to be a trivia answer to the question, who lost the first game in Perham's new high school gymnasium? However, the Wolverines rallied and stunned the Yellowjackets...

Perham's Lily DeBoer, No. 13, and Bradlyn Gniffke go for the block on the kill attempt by Wadena-Deer Creek's Kylee Hopp. Jason Groth/FOCUS

For much of the night, it appeared the Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball team was going to be a trivia answer to the question, who lost the first game in Perham’s new high school gymnasium? However, the Wolverines rallied and stunned the Yellowjackets 5-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 17-15 to spoil the home opener on Aug. 30 in Perham.

“We are struggling. We are struggling with trust with our teammates and we are struggling with ourselves,” Perham head coach Eryn Moser said. “We are trying to create some things, but we have to have trust with our teammates and within ourselves.”

Laura Alstadt goes on the attack for Perham.

The Yellowjackets swarmed the Wolverines early and appeared to be well on their way to a 3-0 sweep. The Yellowjackets built up a 15-1 lead early in the first set and continued to build on it. Wadena-DC head coach Sue Volkmann used two timeouts early, but nothing was slowing down Perham in game one. Perham senior Allie King joined the 1,000 set assist club in the first with Perham up 18-2. The Yellowjackets closed it out with a kill by Rachel Muer, earning a 25-5 first set win.


Allie King

Moser said the biggest thing to the Yellowjackets’ success in the first two sets was their execution.

“We come out with that idea in mind and we run our game plan to a T,” Moser said. “Our gameplan kind of falls apart, we get pretty monotonous and very transparent in what we are doing and that results in good teams being able to figure us out.”

Perham used a balanced attack throughout the night. Lily DeBoer led the team with 10 kills, while Laura Alstadt, Gracie DeBoer, Muer, Bradlyn Gniffke and Ilona Raitis finished with nine kills each. However, the Yellowjackets lacked the killer instinct needed to put the Wolverines away. 

“We are struggling with our players trying to figure out that we are not going to win games tipping,” Moser said. “Until we can try to figure out an offense and six girls in our lineup that come with the idea that attacking is going to win a game, we are going to struggle, until we figure that out.”

The momentum turned when both teams were tied at 20 in the third set. Wadena-DC built up a small lead before Kylee Hopp came up with a pair of kills in the closing points. Kennedy Gravelle closed it out with a kill, giving Wadena-DC the 25-23 win.

The Wolverines took the fourth set by the same score and the team’s exchanged points throughout the fifth and final set.


Perham had two opportunities at match point, but were unable to close out. Madison Carsten recorded a pair of blocks at the net, securing the win for the Wolverines, 17-15.

Moser said a silver-lining in the game was opening up the season in their new facility.


“That’s the bright thing in this whole night. It’s a pretty proud moment. The girls are excited about this season, Moser said. “We have practiced in here twice and this is our first game. We do know this game doesn’t make or break us. It’s early in the season and we have a lot to learn. Losing to Wadena-DC, doesn’t break us as a team. We walk away from this experience, knowing we have to learn and we will build from it and move on.”

The Yellowjackets start the season with an 0-2 mark and return home with another strong test when they take on the Detroit Lakes Lakers at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4.


Wadena-DC def. Perham (5-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 17-15)

WDC: Kennedy Gravelle 16K, 2D, 1B; Ashley Adams 11K, 8D, 1AS, 1B, 26SA; Kylee Hopp 7K, 1D, 1B; Madison Carsten 5K, 15D, 1AS, 3B, 3SA; Laura Krause 2K, 5D; Courtny Warren 19D;  Kyla Ness 9D, 1AS; Lauryn Gravelle 1D, Mari Grendahl 1D; MacKenzie Carsten 6SA.


PER: Allie King 3AS, 32SA, 11D; Laura Alstadt 9K, 1SA, 1AS, 15D; Gracie DeBoer 9K, 4D; Lily DeBoer 10K, 18SA, 11D; Rachel Muer 9K, 1SA, 22D; Bradlyn Gniffke 9K, 1AS, 1D; Lisa Meader 1AS, 39D; Ilona Raitis 9K, 2D.

Perham's Rachel Muer goes for the attack against the block attempt by Kennedy Gravelle and Kylee Hopp during Perham's home opener. Jason Groth/FOCUS

What To Read Next
The Perham-New York Mills boys swimming and diving team competed against Morris Area-Chokio Alberta at Morris on Thursday.
Frazee knocked off the Perham wrestling team on Friday night at The Hive.
The No. 9 Perham boys basketball team beat No. 11 Watertown-Mayer 67-61 on Saturday in St. Michael-Albertville.
Soren Anderson became the fourth Perham boys basketball player to reach 1,000 points on Thursday. In front of family and friends, the Perham senior took a step back to think about his storied career.