The Pelican Rapids Vikings and Benson Braves traveled to Brandon/Evansville for the first ever triangular on Saturday, between Pelican Rapids, Brandon/Evansville, and Benson. These were full 3 out of 5 set games with Pelican playing B/E first and then Benson back to back. Finally B/E and Benson finished the night off matching up.
Brandon-Evansville beat the Vikings in 4 close sets with set scores of 25-23, 13-25, 26-24, 25-19. “We had a good back and forth battle with the Vikings getting their opportunities but not executing well enough when needed,” explained Pelican Rapids Head Coach Heidi Isaman. “The girls served very well with 12 aces on the night. Ellie Welch had a few great serving runs against the Chargers to shift the momentum our way several times. We hit the ball pretty well when we were in system but we struggled a bit on serve receive and had to give the Chargers too many easy opportunities on the free ball. The Vikings played some really good volleyball but when the sets got close we lost some aggressiveness and let too many balls hit the ground to earn the win.”
Welch had 7 service aces, 8 kills and 14 assists to lead the Vikings. Other leaders were Kelsey Isaman with 13 kills and 11 digs, Anna Roisum with 7 kills, 2 aces, 3 block kills and 15 assists, Hazel Haugrud with 14 digs and Morgan Korf with 32 digs and 2 aces.
“With Pelican coming in at the same record as us, we knew that the match was going to be close,” said B-E Head Coach Kelly Olson. “I felt that we had to communicate well and be efficient. We needed to win the serve and the serve receive game. Pelican beat us in almost every facet of the game except the serving game. They hit better than we did, had more digs, and more assists that we did. I felt we held the advantage of the receive game and the passing game. The girls did a good job being efficient. Their ability to capitalize on the opportunities give to us let us win the match.”
Next the Vikings played Benson with the Braves winning in 5 sets. “We were still processing the close loss to the Chargers and did not come out as strong as we needed to,” noted Coach Isaman. “Benson took advantage and came out strong at the net and their Libero was amazing picking up everything we gave them.” After losing the first two sets the Vikings fixed their front row defense that was hurting them and shifted their outside defense to defend the Braves strong outside hitter better. The Viking blockers also stepped up and got some much needed touches. “We still were giving too many balls to their Libero but started to get our offense flowing better and our serve receive really improved,” said Isaman. The Vikings won sets 3 and 4. “Set 5 we missed some serves and had some communication difficulties which caused us to get out of sync,” continued Isaman. “We never really got our offense going the way we needed to in order to win a 5th set and Benson used their opportunities well to seal the deal and get the 5th set win. This was a long day of volleyball. Overall our girls did some really great things today and improved on many items we needed to improve on throughout the games. We are continuing to work on staying aggressive at crunch time!”
The final match of the day saw Brandon-Evansville win in four sets against Benson, 25-17, 25-14, 23-25, 25-23. “We had a bit more offense in this one,” said Coach Olson of the Chargers. “We again took advantage of fee ball opportunities and capitalized on those. Another competitive match pushed our team to play outside of their comfort zone. Coming out with another win helped our confidence going into next week as we host Henning on Tuesday and travel to battle Lake on Thursday.”
Leaders for the Vikings were Korf (34 digs, Haugrud (29 digs), Isaman (14 digs, 6 kills), Roisum (9 kills, 5 digs, 8 assists) and Welch (4 kills, 2 aces, 4 digs, 15 assists, 2.5 block kills).
Statistical leaders for Brandon-Evansville in their two matches were Kylee Dingwall (9.5 kills), Gretchen Bredberg (8 kills, 3 blocks), Claire Boesl (6 kills, 16 digs), Grace Otto (5 kills, 11.5 digs), Taylor Suchy (26 digs) and Courtney Brethorst (11 digs, 3 blocks).
The Vikings will travel to Battle Lake and Rothsay next week.