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Volleyball: Patriots lose two at state

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Phoebe Glenn sets up a teammate in the Patriots' opening round loss to North Branch on Thursday, Nov. 7. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

The Pequot Lakes volleyball team saw its season come to an end on Friday, Nov. 8, as the Patriots fell to Marshall 3-1 in the consolation bracket of the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It was the Patriots' first trip to the state tournament in 25 years.

The Patriots claimed the first set by a score of 25-21, but lost in the next three by scores of 25-17, 28-26 and 25-15.

“We played more like ourselves,” senior Mirjana Ganley said.

“Friday’s game was much better,” head coach Chris Ganley said. “I think the shock of getting to the Xcel and stepping on that state court floor was done. We played much better against Marshall - more like ourselves. We had some great defensive plays, our hitters were hitting and our setters were connecting.”

Hitters Kate Bolz-Andolshek and Lydia Hubbard each tallied 10 kills, while Mariah Rickard had 27 digs. Phoebe Glenn had 12 set assists to go with her 11 digs.

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“This season was amazing,” Ganley said. “We have had great seasons in the past years … but this one was particularly special. They did the things that they needed to do to get to that end result. The previous teams taught us a lot about what needs to happen, and these kids went out and did it.”

The Patriots finish the year with a record of 27-7.

“I think (the season) went really well,” Mirjana said. “We defended our home court well. Losing a few games during the season, I think, was a good thing for us, rather than going 30-0. It helped us realize we weren’t titanium.”

With the season over, Pequot Lakes now part ways with four seniors — Rickard, Mirjana Ganley, Maddy Morrison and Greta Harmala.

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“They are a great bunch of girls,” Chris Ganley said. “They had positive attitudes and they really made an effort to build a relationship with the younger girls, and that team chemistry is kind of what pushes good teams over the top.”

Marshall 21 25 28 25

Pequot Lakes 25 17 26 15

Pequot Lakes statistics

Rita Ganley 14 set assists, 1 dig

Mirjana Ganley 1 kill, 10 digs, 1 block

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Maddy Morrison 2 kills, 2 digs, 1 block

Greta Harmala 1 kill

Catherine Ganley 1 ace serve

Ella Pfeiffer 1 set assist, 3 ace serves, 9 digs

Phoebe Glenn 1 kill, 12 set assists, 2 ace serves, 11 digs

Maci Martini 6 kills, 2 digs

Kate Bolz-Andolshek 10 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks

Lydia Hubbard 10 kills, 1 dig

Mariah Rickard 2 set assists, 4 ace serves, 27 digs

Marshall statistics

Logan Sherman 16 kills, 26 set assists, 10 digs, 1 block

Kate Bucher 1 ace serve, 8 digs

Tessa Gannott 7 kills

Emily Meier 10 kills, 1 ace serve, 13 digs

Bria Morris 16 kills, 8 digs

Keziah Knudson 5 kills, 4 digs, 1 block

Mia Schnaible 1 kill, 4 set assists, 19 digs

Jordyn Hilgemann 14 kills, 1 set assist, 2 ace serves, 31 digs

Rachel Schwarz 35 set assists, 12 digs

North Branch 3, Pequot Lakes 0

Senior Mariah Rickard recorded 13 digs, but the Patriots volleyball team was unable to stifle a stiff North Branch attack in a 3-0 loss in the opening round of the state tournament on Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Patriots stuck with the Vikings throughout the first set, ultimately falling 25-20. In the second set, North Branch went on a 13-0 run to start, and the Patriots struggled to recover and fell 25-11.

“I was really proud of how we played the first match,” Coach Chris Ganley said. “In that second match, it got tougher as they got a little more aggressive with their serving.

“There is something to the fact that we haven’t been here in 25 years, so there was a realization of how big of a stage we were on, and our nerves got to us a little bit … It can’t be hard to work them off,” Ganley said.

The team somewhat rebounded in the third set - tying the score on several occasions - but fell 25-18.

“We knew we had to fight for every ball,” Rickard said. “We weren’t focused on (the score), and I think that really helped us in the long run … I think we just had to fight, and it was really good to see that after the second game.”

Kate Bolz-Andolshek led the team with eight kills and five digs, while Lydia Hubbard added five kills and three blocks.

Mirjana Ganley had eight digs in the game.

North Branch hitter Cianna Silbitschka - a finalist for the Ms. Baden Player of the Year award - dominated offensively for the Vikings, tallying 21 kills. She also had 14 digs.

“We had to put a big block up, knowing she had a good arm, was really smart and could hit super hard,” Bolz-Andolshek said. “We practice a lot of closing the block and pushing over, so we were focusing on that.”

With the loss, the Patriots moved into the consolation bracket, where they faced Marshall.

“For us to get to play competition like this … this gives the younger girls a chance to play competition that we don’t see, being further north,” Ganley said. “It sets in their mind ‘This is where we need to be next year.’”

Pequot Lakes 20 11 18

North Branch 25 25 25

Mirjana Ganley 2 kills, 1 set assist, 8 digs, 1 block

Maddy Morrison 1 set assist, 1 dig, 1 block

Ella Pfeiffer 2 ace serves, 5 digs

Phoebe Glenn 4 set assists, 2 ace serves, 1 dig

Kate Bolz-Andolshek 8 kills, 5 digs

Lydia Hubbard 5 kills, 3 blocks

Rita Ganley 5 set assists, 3 digs

Greta Harmala 3 set assists

Catherine Ganley 1 dig

Maci Martini 3 kills, 3 digs

Mariah Rickard 2 set assists, 1 ace serve, 13 digs

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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