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Brainerd downs Patriots in opener

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The Pequot Lakes Patriots opened the season with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-23 non-conference loss to the host Brainerd Warriors on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Both teams were hindered by injuries in the opener. Especially Pequot Lakes as it played without Kayla Miller and Brittny Bzdok, last year starters who are both out with torn ACLs suffered during the off season. The Patriots also had new starters following the graduation of players from last season.

“We have some things to work on, but the biggest thing is we didn’t attack.” Pequot Lakes coach Kate Dale said in a Brainerd Dispatch story. “We weren’t aggressive at the net. We were kind of waiting to see what they were going to throw at us. They did and we just reacted instead of us dictating the pace.”

Morgan Lohmiller led Pequot with five kills, six digs, 15 set assists and three blocks. Vanessa Lane, who returned to the team after running cross country last year, added five blocks, three digs and two kills. Katie White also had six digs and 16 set assists.

The first game was close. Two Heather Fletcher kills and a Paige Rivers ace serve pushed Brainerd to a 17-14 edge, which it maintained to the end.

Katy Johnson collected four of her 10 kills in the second game. Fletcher rattled off seven straight serves, including two aces, to build a 19-11 edge.

The Warriors created a 17-8 lead in the third game before the Patriots rallied to tie it 19-19. The Warriors eventually built a 24-22 lead before scoring the final point.

Johnson led Brainerd’s attack with 10 kills and Fletcher added seven. Rivers and Madison Stall led Brainerd with 25 digs.

After playing at Pillager on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Patriots are scheduled to play at the annual Pine and Lakes tournament on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Pine River-Backus High School gymnasium.

Pequot Lakes statistics:

Ashley Abear 10 digs; Justyne Litzau 2 kills, 3 digs, 1 block; Amanda Nies 5 digs; Morgan Lohmiller 5 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace serve, 11 set assists, 3 blocks; Vanessa Lane 2 kills, 3 digs, 5 blocks; Laura Squires 1 kill, 8 digs; Katie White 1 kill, 6 digs, 16 set assists, 1 block; Barbara Miller 3 kills; Debra Mitchell 1 dig, 1 ace serve.