PERHAM – Once a year, the Detroit Lakes and Perham volleyball teams face off in a non-conference, non-sectional game. And, for the third straight time, the Lakers have taken over.
Detroit Lakes (3-0) swept Perham (2-1) 3-0 in convincing fashion to stay unbeaten.
“Perham have always been a big rival for us, and I think we’ve come really close,” said junior Rylee Johnson. “We have all become so close on and off the pitch. It’s like we all click together on a different level. It’s really important for us to beat Perham.
Johnson and Grace Gunderson gave the Lakers a 14-8 lead in the opening set with straight wins. Perham took the next two points before Grace Gunderson had one of her 17 kills to take the lead by six points at 21-15.
Detroit Lakes saw a set in each of their first two wins end on the wire. Perham came back in the first set with a 6-0 run behind a pair of wins from Willow Thiel. Grace Gunderson got the last two kills for the Lakers in the 25-22 first-set win.
“For us, it’s getting a good point,” Johnson said of the best way out of a slump. “It takes so little for us to get back to the top and play at that level again when we get into those periods. It just takes the smallest things like a good kill or a good pass. Maybe it’s a dig or a good serve. Once we get that, it’s game over.
The Yellowjackets started behind the eighth ball in the second set. Several unforced errors gave the Lakers a 7-1 lead.
Senior Jalynn Gunderson got heavily involved in the second set, getting plenty of kills from the outside hitter spot. The Detroit Lakes’ 16-9 lead extended to 25-11 as the Lakers took a 2-0 lead after a 10-2 run.
“Their philosophy this year is ‘No Mercy. Keep it up,” Detroit Lakes head coach Lynnsey Machakaire said. “They want to be in every game and keep playing – not giving anything up and never giving up. Last year (the motto) was “All for one and one for all”. This year they played it with the motto “No Mercy”. Competing at every point together and never giving up is how they want to play.
The Detroit Lakes’ outside hitters have been a problem for the Yellowjackets from start to finish. Grace Gunderson, Jalynn Gunderson and Johnson combined for 38 kills.
“During practice we have these competitive games and little things to push each other to be better,” Johnson said. “I think it makes you excited for each other when you’re able to do those little things against each other in practice and know you’re on the same team in the real games. When we get that point, we all want it so we can share it.
Getting that point comes with a good passer. Ava Jones helped the Lakers collect 42 assists on the night.
“We have too many big hitters, so there’s no one you can really focus on,” Machakaire said. “When you have a team with two good hitters, usually one of them rotates while the other rotates up. We don’t have that because we have more than two, and that’s where we’re lucky they can drop a few of our hitters, but as soon as they let go and open up, then Ava (Jones) is a smart enough setter to use it and chase them down.
In the third set, contributions came from all over. The Lakers led 19-11 before wrapping up a 25-21 win. Jalynn Gunderson’s winning kill was his 14th of the night. She also had 16 digs and three aces.
Jones led the Lakers in blocks with two, while Helena Daggett and Sadie Stroeing each had one. Jones also tallied nine digs, while Olivia Clark Burnett had five.
“Their celebration,” Machakaire said when asked what impressed her most about her team. “They all celebrated and they all did their job. They moved the ball so well. Everyone had to play their part, and they all played it with positivity and enthusiasm for each other.
Where the Lakers have separated themselves from their first three opponents is in their ability to improvise when plays come out of their system.
“I think part of it is growing as players, but we’re talking about it,” Machakaire said. “We’re talking about playing each point as its own point and letting everything that happened in that last one roll over their backs. We can’t go back and we can’t fix what happened at an earlier point. They do a good job playing every point positively.
“Another thing is maturity. They have one season under their belt together. They’re maturing as a group of young women, and I think you can see that in the way they carry themselves.
Machakaire hinted at his players’ familiarity with Highway 10 teams following the Lakers’ season-opening sweep of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. Johnson echoed that sentiment, adding that it helps with preparation ahead of a highly anticipated game like Tuesday’s.
“It’s a lot easier to prepare for them because we know them personally,” Johnson said. “We watch a movie and talk about it during training. We remember what these girls were able to do last year and talk about it in practice. We have hitters attacking us from where they normally hit. Everything they do, we put into our practice because we are so familiar with them. We know what to expect. »
Detroit Lakes are yet to drop a set in three games this season. It’s safe to say the Lakers have found a way to recreate the momentum they found at the end of the 2021 season.
1/2: Jalynn Gunderson, left, and Helena Daggett celebrate a point in the first set of the Lakers’ 3-0 victory over Perham on September 6, 2022 at The Hive.
2/2: Perham’s Willow Thiel drives the ball over the net in the Lakers’ 3-0 win over Perham on September 6, 2022 at The Hive.
“It’s so much fun to play like that because we knew we had the potential to get to where we were at the end of last year,” Johnson said. “We knew we could go all the way, but we couldn’t put it all together. Now we feel it. »