Otters defeat scrappy YellowjacketsPublished 10:48am Wednesday, October 30, 2013
WADENA — The atmosphere was electric as the Fergus Falls Otter girls took on the Perham Yellowjackets in the South Sub-Section 8AA final.
With the gym packed to capacity, fans of both teams came out dressed in the best maroon and gold, and black and yellow to support its team.
Perham high schoolers wore eye-popping, neon colored t-shirts, while the Otters dressed in goofy costumes of the school’s colors.
The scene in the stands was just as spectacular as the match on the court as the consistency of the Yellwojackets gave a perfect test to the overpowering Otters.
When the flurry on the court ended, the Otters came out victorious as defeated the first seed ‘Jackets 25-23, 25-15, 26-28, 25-21.
Contests between the two programs has mostly been lopsided as the Yellowjackets have defeated the Otters in playoff meetings throughout the 2000s. Some have even questioned whether this is the Otters’ first win over Perham in volleyball. With the Otters falling in Section 8AAA final the past two seasons, many felt Fergus finally had a team that could get over the hump.
In the first set, the Yellowjackets came out and proved why they were the seeded over the Otters as it held a close 23-22 lead. But Fergus would roar back winning the next three points to take the first set.
The Otters were able to ride the momentum of the previous set as it strolled past Perham in the second set.
With Fergus dominating the second set, the true match up became a battle of the Otters’ student section versus the Yellowjackets’ student section.
Chants went back-and-forth with Fergus students chanting of its team’s point streak, while the Perham faithful countered with a “thanks for Keeghan” chant, referencing current Yellowjacket cross country runner and former Fergus Falls school attendee, Keeghan Hurley.
The Otters looked to continue its set win streak in the playoffs in the third set, but a spiritlessness came over the girls and the Fergus fans as it held a two set lead and looked to sweep Perham. The Yellowjavckets were able to use that to its advantage as it rallied from behind to win a multiple extra-point set 28-26.
The win brought the Perham fans to a frenzy as the Yellowjackets were able to keep its dream alive.
“We have to give Perham the credit in game three,” Otter coach Renee Erickson said. “Coach Eryn Moser did a nice job of directing her kids on getting around our blocks.”
The fourth set became a test of will for Perham as it sat on the brink of extinction from the playoffs. The match would again be close, but the Otters were able to fight off fatigue and pick up the win.
Anna Monke had another monstrous night at the net as she recorded 23 kills and had six blocking assists. Brianna Rasmusson (15), Kristin Traiser (13) and Laura Gaustad (11) were also in double digits for kills.
Devonie Smith led the defensive stat line with 37 digs and Gaustad added 33 of her own.
The Otters will now take on the Thief River Falls Prowlers in the section title game at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hawley. The Prowlers were a three set winner of the Hawley Nuggets Tuesday.
This matchup will be another prove-it game for the Otters as Fergus was ranked one spot higher then Thief River Falls in the QRF at 10, while the Prowlers hold the No. 5 (Class AA) rank in the coaches’ poll, compared to Fergus, who sits at No. 7.
“We are just going to have to play with the same two words that we stated before every playoff game — focus and discipline,” Erickson said.