Detroit Lakes had defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton only twice in the last 12 meetings dating back to 2007, but the Lakers got their season off to a big start beating the Rebels 3-1 (25-16, 25-20, 17-25, 25-22) Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Ralph Anderson Gymnasium.
“It’s fun to see the success,” DL head coach Sara Schnathorst said. “You get two weeks of preseason and you never know until you get to a game. I’m very proud and happy that they responded this way. First game is always nerves, especially at home and D-G-F is always a big opponent - a very big win.”
The Lakers took the first two sets but the Rebels found some momentum and forced a fourth, leading much of the way. DL had to battle to avoid a fifth set race to 15 points.
“It feels so good,” said senior Teeya Doppler. “That’s huge for us, especially our first game on our home court. It feels really good.”
The Rebels did not make it easy for DL leading nearly all of the fourth set and seemingly headed to a tiebreaker.
“They wore us out a little,” Schnathorst said. “It was fun to come and win that fourth one and not have to go to a fifth.”
D-G-F lead 19-12 in the fourth before seniors Bre Price and Doppler scored five of the next six points. Junior Annie Campbell hit a big crosscourt winner to cut the lead to two points 21-19. Junior Jocelyn Patnaude closed to one point on a successive kill.
The Rebels responded, but would not score again in the set after leading 22-21.
Junior Anna Cihak tied the score and Doppler took the serve. Her first was a winner for a 23-22 lead, the first for DL in the deciding set. A D-G-F error at the net set up match point and a service return floated to Cihak who blasted the victory kill and celebrated with her teammates.
Coach Schnathorst singled out the play of the entire team rather than any individuals as keys to victory.
“Everybody was ready, whether it was a scramble play, getting a hand on the ball and I think having confidence in the play of the game and being able to set things up off of digs,” said Schnathorst. “We blocked really well tonight - we’ve been working hard on improving on that. Everything just came together.”
The players have been working hard on team chemistry from the summer program to the present, something Doppler noted as being a big key to how well they played in the season opener.
“I think we really came together and we spent a lot of time in our JO practices together,” she said. “Now, we’re in season and I think we feel really comfortable together. We’ve been putting in hard work in the weight room and really pushing ourselves. We really want to improve the Laker volleyball program.”
Having a familiarity with Coach Schnathorst in her second season at DL has helped as well.
“It really helps,” said Doppler. “We’re really used to her now and how she runs practices and what she wants.”
The players gave Coach something she wanted and that was improvement in play at the net.
“The blocking was the nicest surprise to me because we struggled at that last year,” Schnathorst said. “Getting their hands on the ball is such a key to shutting down teams and not having to work defensively on your side.”
The Lakers built a 13-5 lead in the first set and held the Rebels at bay to win by nine points after a Peyton Wilson serve went long on set point.
Set two was much closer. The Rebels led by as many as four points at 16-12, but the Lakers took over after a tied score at 20-all to win the final five points for a 2-0 lead.
Maria Watt had back-to-back points on a kill and a block to seal the third set for D-G-F 25-17.
Doppler led the Lakers with 14 kills, five aces, 3.5 blocks and eight digs.
Price added eight kills; Cihak had seven.
Cortnee Ziegler and Maren Daggett handled setting duties. Ziegler had 20 assists, Daggett added 14.
The last victory for DL over D-G-F was in late August of 2014, a 3-1 score also. The other win in the last dozen games was in 2008 (3-0).
The Lakers (1-0) will play the first of three straight road games beginning at Bemidji Thursday, Aug 30 at 7:15 p.m.