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Volleyball: Patriots bounce back, beat Panthers for section crown and trip to state tournament

They head to Class 2A state tournament Nov. 7

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Phoebe Glenn, center, and her Patriot teammates celebrate a point in the final set of the Patriots' 3-2 section final win over Park Rapids Saturday, Nov. 2. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

Losing the first two sets of a volleyball match can be enough to deflate even the best teams.

No one told that to the Patriots.

Losing two straight to start the game, the Patriots bounced back and won the next three in a 3-2 victory over Park Rapids for the Section 8-2A Championship on Saturday, Nov. 2.

"We weren’t doing what we were used to doing in the first two sets, and that hurt us," Junior Kate Bolz-Andolshek said. "Then we got back into the flow of it."

The Panthers managed to secure a victory in the first two sets, winning 25-23 and 25-22.

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"I just told them ‘This is either our season or theirs. Which one do you want to continue?’ team co-captain Mariah Rickard said. "I could see it in all of them that we knew what had to be done, and we did it."

From there, the Patriots were in full control, winning the next three sets by scores of 25-19, 25-14 and 15-7.

"We struggle playing (Park Rapids) every year, and I’m so proud that we were able to pull through," Rickard said.

Lydia Hubbard led the way for the Patriots with 21 kills, while Bolz-Andolshek followed with 15 and Maci Martini had five.

Rickard had a team-high 20 digs while Mirjana Ganley had 17, and Maddy Morrison led the team with eight blocks.

Rita Ganley had 25 set assists, while Phoebe Glenn added 15.

Additionally, Coach Chris Ganley was named Section 8-2A Coach of the Year.

The Patriots now head to the State Class 2A tournament, with their first game on Thursday, Nov. 7.

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"We broke down the last door that we wanted to break down," Rickard said. "This was our goal … We have to go in there with the same fight that we had in this game. We want to go in and make a name for ourselves, not just play and be done."

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The Patriots pose with their Section 8-2A Championship plaque Saturday, Nov. 2. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

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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