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Volleyball: Patriots clinch state berth, will open against Barnesville

Team will play Barnesville on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Xcel Energy Center

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The Pequot Lakes bench erupts in celebration in the Patriots' section championship victory on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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SAUK RAPIDS — For the second time in three years, the Pequot Lakes Patriots volleyball team is headed to state, and will face Barnesville in the opening round at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10.

With a 25-23 fourth set victory, the No. 2 seeded Patriots punched their ticket to the Class 2A state tournament with a 3-1 victory over No. 4 seed St. Cloud Cathedral on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.

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“In the first two games, I think we played really well and played our style of game,” head coach Chris Ganley said. “I think we played well to 21 points in the third game – someone once told me the last three points of the section championship are the hardest points you have to earn, and it was. Cathedral was a good team … and once our girls lost the third game, I think they were a little disheartened.”

Despite some struggles, the Patriots persevered to punch another state tournament ticket.

Ella Kratochvil finished with 20 kills and 10 digs in the game, while Maci Martini had 10 kills and a team-high 26 digs.

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Martini and Kratochvil are the only current Patriots who were on the varsity roster the last time they made it to state.

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Pequot Lakes' Abi Martin sets the ball in the Patriots section title game on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“I think it planted a seed in them that that would be the goal when they were older,” Ganley said. “I’m so happy for them. Obviously, we came close last year, but it was still sweet to get it this year.”

In fact, many of the girls on the Patriot roster have state experience in other sports, including basketball and golf.

“This group of girls has been knocking at the door or going to state for almost all their sports,” Ganley said. “It really puts in their minds that they can do it.”

The Patriots now move onto the opening round of the state tournament Thursday, Nov. 10, where they will face Barnesville at 1 p.m.

“I think the big thing is the unknown,” Ganley said. “We have normally tried to know our opponent pretty well. Now we have seven teams, but for some of them, we have seen very little. I was able to find some film on Barnesville, and they have some nice middles and their setter is pretty aggressive. They are a nice, well-rounded team and it will be a good battle.”

Cathedral 16 19 25 23

Pequot Lakes 25 25 22 25

Pequot Lakes statistics

Abi Martin 49 set assists, 8 digs, 1 block, 1 ace serve, 1 kill

Joselyn Rinio 11 kills, 4 blocks, 2 digs

Isabel Larson 4 digs, 2 kills

Brea Eckes 6 digs, 1 ace serve

Grace Hoffard 9 kills, 3 blocks, 3 digs

Maci Martini 10 kills, 26 digs

Ella Kratochvil 20 kills, 18 digs, 3 blocks, 1 ace serve

Kelsi Martini 25 digs, 4 ace serves, 1 set assist

Pequot Lakes 3, W-DC 2

SAUK RAPIDS — Pequot Lakes’ Grace Hoffard smashed her team-leading 19th kill to give the Patriots a 15-9 fifth set win over No. 3 Wadena-Deer Creek on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Sauk Rapids High School.

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Pequot Lakes had three different players with 18 kills or more.

Martini recorded 19 kills and 15 digs while Kratochvil tallied 18 kills and 19 digs for the Patriots. Hoffard finished with five digs and two blocks along with her 19 kills.

Wadena-Deer Creek 12 25 25 14 9

Pequot Lakes 25 23 23 25 15

Pequot Lakes statistics

Abi Martin 55 set assists, 18 digs

Charlee Sullivan 5 digs, 1 set assist

Joselyn Rinio 5 kills, 4 blocks

Isabel Larson 6 digs, 2 kills, 4 blocks

Brea Eckes 5 digs, 1 set assist

Grace Hoffard 19 kills, 5 digs, 2 blocks

Maci Martini 19 kill, 15 digs, 1 ace serve, 1 set assist

Ella Kratochvil 18 kills, 19 digs, 2 ace serves, 2 blocks

Kelsi Martini 26 digs, 2 set assists

Wadena-Deer Creek statistics

Madison Carsten 29 kills, 19 digs, 1 ace serve, 2 blocks

Montana Carsten 40 digs

Jada Dykhoff 3 digs, 2 ace serves

Jenna Dykhoff 1 block

Addyson Gravelle 53 set assists, 2 kills

Payton Gravelle 10 kills, 2 blocks

Kayla Kircher 22 digs

Lola Pulver 9 kills

Emily Lepinski 8 kills

Patriots 3, Holdingford 0

PEQUOT LAKES — Kratochvil led the way with 22 digs and 14 kills as the No. 2 Pequot Lakes Patriots beat No. 10 Holdingford 3-0 in the Section 6-2A quarterfinals Tuesday, Nov. 1.

"We played with a lot of energy tonight," senior Maci Martini said. "We knew that it was the playoffs and we had to bring it to the next level, and I feel like we could definitely feel that as we were playing."

Abi Martin registered 44 set assists and eight digs in the win. Grace Hofford had 11 kills with Maci Martini spiking 10.

Kelsi Martini recorded 13 digs for Pequot.

The Patriots won the first two sets in convincing fashion, but Holdingford came back in the third, leading 12-3 early on. However, the Patriots came roaring back to tie it up at 15-15, and the two teams were back and forth for the rest of the game until the Patriots ultimately came away with the victory.

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"We always know that we can come back no matter what the score is," Martini said. "We do a lot of drills in practice that have to do with coming back and finishing a game, so that helped us a lot tonight."

Holdingford 14 8 26

Pequot Lakes 25 25 28

Pequot Lakes statistics

Abi Martin 8 digs, 44 set assists

Joselyn Rinio 1 dig, 1 block, 9 kills

Isabel Larson 3 digs, 1 block, 4 kills

Brea Eckes 8 digs, 5 ace serves

Grace Hoffard 3 digs, 1 block, 11 kills

Maci Martini 6 digs, 10 kills

Ella Kratochvil 22 digs, 2 blocks, 1 ace serve, 14 kills

Kelsi Martini 13 digs, 2 ace serves, 2 set assists

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan .

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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