The Brainerd High School gym resembled the land of the giants Tuesday night.
The St. Cloud Tech Tigers volleyball team, with three players at least 6-foot-1, and a 5-11 power hitter, held off the scrappy Brainerd Warriors 15-11, 15-12, 15-8 in a Central Lakes Conference match.
Tech's Katy and Jessy Preston, 6-2 twins, congested things at the net along with 6-1 Leah Ferber. That size, combined with 5-11 Nicole Martin's powerful hitting and the experience of eight seniors may make Tech a force in Section 8, Class 3A.
"We've got power, we've got scrappiness, and just the ability when things start going wrong to pull things back together," Tigers coach Angie Haus said. "That's one thing we've really been working on, if we start making some mistakes to pull together, then do what we know how to do, and that's playing fun volleyball.
"We're just fortunate to have three girls who are over 6-feet and also a 5-11 girl with a 23-inch vertical with a lot of power."
Warriors coach Lori Dean said Brainerd was caught a bit off-guard by Martin's hitting.
"This year, particularly, they have the outside player, and that was kind of a surprise to us," Dean said. "We knew about the middle hitters, and were prepared for that. Martin kind of came on and we weren't aware of that."
Tech was aware of the Warriors' power hitters. Its size helped confine Brainerd's Brooke Rollins, Megan Arns, Haley Bower and Ashley Widmark to a combined 20 kills.
"They really pushed it deep to the backcourt," Dean said. "That's something we suggested to our team and (Tech) carried it out.
"I did feel we were digging like maniacs. We were fighting to stay in there because a lot of those balls should have been kills. We chased things down offcourt too. We got called several times for being out of play. You've got to admire that, when we're willing to run around the gym to dig things up."
Brainerd rallied from a 6-0 deficit in the first game to lose by four.
In the second game, the Warriors built a 12-8 edge before Tech regained the momentum and went on to win by three.
Tech pulled away from a 4-4 stalemate in the final game to score 11 of the last 15 points.
"Again, we had little lapses in momentum that were costly, a few missed serves," Dean said.
Megan Eastman 5 digs
Brooke Rollins 12 digs, 1 ace serve, 6 kills, 1 block
Lauren Kirkpatrick 3 digs, 2 blocks, 23 set assists
Megan Arns 6 digs, 1 ace serve, 6 kills, 2 blocks
Haley Bower 9 digs, 3 ace serves, 5 kills
Ashley Widmark 16 digs, 2 ace serves, 3 kills
Nikki Dehen 1 dig, 1 kill
Leigha Walters 2 digs
Maria Swanson 2 kills, 2 blocks
Conference -- B 2-1. Overall -- B 2-1. Next match -- Brainerd at Rocori 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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