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Detroit Lakes volleyball powers past Hawley to reach 8-2A semifinals

Savannah Fritz had nine assisted and two solo block in the Lakers win over Hawley on Thursday. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
Rachel Shane had 46 assists in the Lakers win Thursday. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

The Detroit Lakes volleyball team reached a critical juncture of their season Thursday night during their Sub-Section 8-2A South quarterfinal match against visiting Hawley.

It was down to two choices: A. Fold and start preparing for the winter sports season.

Or B: Dust themselves off and play on to the semifinals.

After losing a 21-15 lead in game one and falling 25-23, then trailing 13-4 in game two to the Nuggets -- the Lakers chose option B.

The No. 3 DL squad rallied back in game two to win 25-21, then rode that wave of momentum to an eventual 3-1 win over Hawley to advance to the Sub-Section semifinal match tonight against No. 7 Perham in Ralph Anderson Gym.

"We just were not playing that well in the first two games," said DL head coach Beth Leighton. "But the character of the team showed, they didn't panic and eventually the momentum switched."

Hawley made some long rallies, including a 7-0 string which erased a 21-15 deficit to take a 22-21 advantage.

The Nuggets held on to win 25-23, then bolted to a 13-4 edge in game two, which threatened to put DL in a dangerous 2-0 hole.

But the Lakers started climbing back, on the play of Mackenzie Gedrose's passing and the killing ability of Ashlyn Jasken and Carrie Sorensen.

The steady Lakers kept putting together four to five-point series, eventually taking an 18-17 lead on a Sorensen kill right down the middle of the Nugget defense.

The quick hits by Sorensen racked up points as Hawley had no answer for her kills and the cross-court kills of Jasken.

Sorensen finished with a game-high 19 kills, while Jasken had 16.

"I give a lot of credit to Mackenzie Gedrose for her amazing passing after her serve-receiving," Leighton said. "(Setter) Rachel Shane also has enough confidence when there is trouble to look to Ashlyn or anyone in the backrow."

The Lakers built a 20-17 lead in game two, and eventually pulled out the 25-21 victory.

The Lakers pulled a four-point lead in game three at 22-19, which was too much for Hawley to overcome.

DL maintained the momentum, despite falling down 5-2 in the decisive game four, by going on a 5-0 run on a Courtney Hedstrom serving series to leap out 17-12 and cruise to a 25-18 win.

With the majority of DL players making their debut in the playoffs, but it didn't show in round one.

"We just said we can't abandon what got us here," Leighton included.

Shane finished with 46 assists, as well as five solo and six assisted blocks. Savannah Fritz had two solo and nine assisted blocks, while Beth Stoltenburg was 9-9 and one ace from the service line.

The Lakers are now preparing for Perham tonight, which upset No. 2 Breckenridge.

DL is fresh off beating the Yellowjackets last week, which broke a 15-game losing streak to Perham.

"In the playoffs, it's about what team is going to come and play," Leighton said. "It's important to get an early start on them, because they are going to come in with their game face on."

Laker results

Sub-Section South quarterfinals: (6) Hawley at (3) Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Oct. 29.

Lakers 3, Nuggets 1

(23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18)

DL stat leaders -- Serving: Bethany Stoltenburg 9-9, 1 ace; Courtney Hedstrom 5-5...Blocks: Rachel Shane 5 solo, 6 assisted; Savannah Fritz 2 solo, 9 assisted...Setting: Shane 46 assists...Kills: Carrie Sorensen 19, Ashlyn Jasken 16...Digs: Mackenzie Gedrose 35-41; Stoltenburg 27-31.