Jared Diem wanted to vomit.
Thankfully, the first-year head coach's discomfort came before the Brainerd Warriors season-opening volleyball match Tuesday at Brainerd High School and not afterward.
Diem's tenure as head coach began with a 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 loss to Central Lakes Conference foe Fergus Falls. Still, play was improved and the players remained excited about the season.
"I thought we played well for our first game," said senior setter Carlie Kramer. "We just needed to finish our plays. I think it was all mental."
As for the new coach.
"He's really intense," she said. "He pushes us in practice and helps us out a lot."
Brainerd's Kendra Rehnblom and head coach Jared Diem watched the Warriors' volleyball team open the season Tuesday with a Central Lakes Conference loss to Fergus Falls. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd appeared nervous as Fergus Falls rattled off 10-straight points for a 12-2 game one lead. Tess Rahto's kill ended the run and calmed the team, but the Warriors couldn't overcome unforced errors.
"Errors killed us," said Diem. "Mainly it was just hitting errors and serving errors. From day one communication has been a weakness on the team. We strive to work on that every practice.
"We kind of have a young team in a way so that doesn't help. The good thing is errors are easily corrected in practice. We weren't passing bad. We don't have bad fundamentals hitting or setting."
Brainerd jumped to a 5-2 edge in game two before Fergus rattled off a 5-0 run. The Otters manufactured another 5-1 run to secure a 19-15 advantage, the biggest lead of the game, and went on to win by three.
Game Three was much the same as the largest lead was 15-10 in favor of the Otters. A Nikker Graumann kill closed the gap to 16-15, but the Warriors couldn't grab the lead.
"I really wanted to just stay close," said Diem. "I was really excited about this game because I have not seen anyone in our conference play ever. We played a lot of 2A and 1A schools in scrimmages and it was hard for me to figure out how we would do. Then last night we had probably the worst practice ever so I was scared. I didn't know how we would do."
Fergus Falls 3, Warriors 0
Key: Unforced errors caught up with the Warriors
Conf: Brd 0-1, FF 1-1
Overall: Brd 0-1, FF 1-2
Next: Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech 7:15 p.m.
Emily Thesing led the Warriors with seven kills. Kendra Rehnblom collected 12 digs and Graumann had 11 set assists.
And Diem held his lunch.
"I was shaking, honestly," said Diem about his first game. "I was kind of even tearing up a little bit. I wanted to throw up and have a little more drama, but I was really nervous for the girls. They worked really hard.
"We had a fantastic preseason and they all are really likable girls. That makes coaching easy for me because all those girls are for each other."
Fergus Falls 25 25 25
Brainerd 18 22 21
Allison Mueller 1 ace, 1 block assist, 3 kills
Bethany Luckemeyer 2 block assists, 2 digs, 2 kills
Carlie Kramer 3 ace serves, 3 digs, 8 set assists, 1 kill
Carlie Sweet 1 dig, 1 set assist, 2 kills
Emily Thesing 1 ace serve, 3 digs, 7 kills
Kendra Rehnblom 12 digs, 1 kill
Nikker Graumann 2 block assists, 1 block, 1 dig, 11 set assists, 6 kills
Tess Rahto 3 block assists, 5 kills
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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