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Brainerd Warrior Volleyball Team Defeats Bemidji

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Warriors 3, Bemidji 1 Key: Brainerd stopped making unforced errors Overall: Brd 1-1, Bem 0-2 Next: Brainerd hosts Fergus Falls 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 It’s a good thing Brainerd Warriors head coach Rick Kuehlwein already has gray hair. The veteran coach saw his team start slow, but rally three times to defeat the Bemidji Lumberjacks 3-1 Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Brainerd High School. After an error-filled first set, in which Bemidji secured a 25-15 win, Brainerd refocused and collected 25-20, 26-24 and 27-25 victories for the team’s first win of the season. “We had a sophomore go in when she wasn’t supposed to go in so we were out of rotation right away,” Kuehlwein said. “I could tell right away this was going to be a long night. It’s our gym and we wanted to win. We just needed to keep the ball in play. When we were able to get a run we had to sustain it. We didn't do that. We kept missing serves all night. We had 10 hitting errors in the first set alone.” Bemidji roared out to a 10-6 edge in the second set only to have Brainerd use an 8-1 run, highlighted by an Emily Peabody kill to build a 14-11 edge. Errors continued to hamper Brainerd as Bemidji rebuilt an 18-16 lead before Delaney Schaeffer’s block stopped a Bemidji run. Senior Courtney Russell posted consecutive kills and Avery Eckman finished off the Lumberjacks with one of her team-high 18 kills for the 25-20 win. “Early in the match, we just weren’t playing as a team,” Eckman said. “Throughout the match, we were able to come together. Coach Kuehlwein basically said to stop making mistakes. We knew we had to listen to him otherwise we would be running in practice.” Eckman’s consecutive kills finished off Bemidji 25-24 in Game 3, but it took another Warrior rally to rebound from an 11-6 Bemidji lead. Two Eckman kills followed by a Schaeffer kill helped Brainerd climb to 16-12. Sophomore Karlie Anderson posted a tip and a block and Eckman added two more kills before her final two sealed the win. “We rely a lot on our back row and our setters to get us the ball,” Eckman said of her crucial kills. “We just keep pushing each other every day to get better and that came through tonight.”