Detroit Lakes rallied from being down two sets to one to capture a fourth consecutive victory after defeating Fergus Falls 3-2 Thursday night on the road by scores of 26-24, 21-25, 22-25, 25-17, 15-10.
The Otters stepped up to fill a scheduling vacancy for DL with Aitkin after a COVID-19 postponement of Thursday’s game in Detroit Lakes.
All five sets were tightly contested, especially the first three with both teams lingering within 2-4 points of each other.
“They found some grit going into game four,” DL head coach Lynnsey Machakaire said. “It was great to see the fight they brought tonight.”
Heading into the fourth the Lakers were coming off a third set loss from a tie at 21-all. The Otters scored four of the final five points to take a 2-1 lead.
DL opened with five straight points to get a good start in the equalizing set but the Otters responded with nine consecutive points looking to end the match early.
Both teams were scoring in sustained runs for the first time in the match.
Madison Foster and Grace Gunderson attacks evened the score with DL retaking the lead 12-11. Ava Jones put DL up two with a big dig off an Otter kill attempt and then stepped up to get a kill of her own. Faith Keller sent a backset to Gunderson on the next point for a 14-11 DL lead to cap an 8-3 Laker run.
The Lakers continued to score with an Autumn Kulik ace putting DL up 16-12 and Jones found a wide open back corner for a five-point lead.
DL led 20-15 on a Jordyn Johnson kill off the Otter block and a low dig from Kulik mid-court that found empty space on the Fergus half of the court.
Gabby Fredrickson pounded down a no-doubter as DL took command up 23-16. Fredrickson served leading to a Lauren Kaiser kill for set point and Johnson smacked down Fergus Falls at the net for a 25-17 win and knot at two sets each.
The race to 15 points for victory was tied at 2, 3, 5 and finally 9 on a Fredrickson ace. Another Johnson kill gave the Lakers the lead for good at 10-9. Jones continued the push with a kill attempt that was dug out of the Fergus back row but came right back to her and Jones drilled a winner deep cross court.
Kaiser scored on back-to-back kills to give DL a match point at 14-10 and Jones went to the service line to polish off the match with an ace.
The teams played to a tight 24-all tie in the opening set. Fredrickson killed to tie the score out of a timeout scoring from the outside left Johnson earned a set point with a kill of her own that set up a unique winner from Laken Weaver finding open space in the middle of the Otters with a scoring dig from back middle for a 1-0 lead.
“Our back row played on fire tonight,” Machkaire said. “Laken Weaver, Faith Keller and Autumn Kulik all had some spectacular digs and saves in the back row. Laken Weaver stood out as she really delivered against Fergus Falls reading the hitters well and covering holes if they were left open, she moved well and in turn had a fantastic game tonight.”
Fergus Falls evened the match breaking a 19-all tie with four straight points on the way to a 25-21 win.
The third set was tied at 21-21 after a big DL block from Foster and Fredrickson. DL trailed 23-22 after a Foster kill down the line, but the Otters rallied for the final two points to go up 2-1.
Detroit Lakes improved to 4-1 overall. Fergus Falls dropped to 2-3.
The Lakers host Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (3-3) Monday, Nov. 2. The Rebels are coming off a 3-1 loss at Perham Thursday. D-G-F has canceled two football games due to COVID-19, but the volleyball schedule has remained intact.