The Pelican Rapids Vikings ended the 2022 season on Wednesday, October 26, hosting the DGF Rebels in the first round of playoffs. 

The Vikings were excited to land the 4-seed and get a chance for another home game hosting the Rebels. 

The Vikings had beaten the Rebels in the early season, but knew they were a different and improved team coming in and knew it would be a great matchup. 

The gym was full of fans in orange and had great playoff energy. 

The Vikings started the match very strong, being extremely aggressive at the net and the serving line. 

“We knew we needed to get the Rebels out of system to keep their powerful front row from getting into a rhythm,” said Coach Heidi Isaman. “We knew we also needed to keep our offense moving to make their big blockers work.” 

This is exactly what the Lady Vikings did in set one. 

Morgan Korf and Kelsey Isaman served very aggressively to get the Rebels out of system and give Pelican more free balls to get our offense moving. Junior middle hitter Ellie Welch and senior outside hitter Isaman really wanted to ball tonight and had some huge kills to start the match. Sophomore middle blocker Anna Roisum had some huge blocks for us to slow down their offense, and libero Morgan Korf read the ball very well to dig up almost everything they sent our way. 

The Vikings were in a good rhythm and won set one, 25-19. 

Set two went point to point with the Rebels all game, but Pelican did not pass the ball as well as we did in set one. This caused the Vikings to be a little out of sync offensively, which caused a few hitting errors. Defensively Pelican still held our own in the back row, but our block was a little slow as they were getting more opportunities to run their quicker offense out of the middle. 

The Vikings battled but lost set two with a score of 21-25. 

Set three, we came out hesitant and a little scared and found ourselves down 1-6 quickly with poor serve receiving. 

The Rebels did a good job of keeping the ball away from our libero Korf and spot serving to the open spots on the court. As we struggled with serve receive, our setters did not have as many options to give our hitters the ball where they needed it to score at the net. Outside hitter Isaman stayed aggressive, hitting the ball, and right side hitter Marie Backstrom had a few huge kills to keep Pelican alive this set. However, with giving the Rebels more free balls, they got themselves in system and attacked us with their quick middle offense. We struggled a bit with the timing of our block, and the Rebels took advantage. 

The Vikings lost set three with a disappointing score of 11-25. 

Set four, the Vikings knew it was do-or-die. 

“We stepped up our offense a bit and got more aggressive again at the net,” said Coach Isaman. The Rebels blocked very well this set. We covered their block to create some really long rallies with great defense happening on both sides of the net. 

However, a few too many errors helped several of those long rallies to go to the Rebels’ side. 

Backstrom came off the bench and hit well, but the Rebels just got more offensive opportunities as a whole than we did. 

The Vikings lost set four4 to end the season with a score of 12-25. 

The Vikings ended up with a 2-4 conference record which was our best in 3 years. 

Pelican also ended up with a 3-3 section record and landed the 4-seed, which was also the best seeding in three years. 

“Even though our 9-16 overall record was not where we wanted to end up, these girls worked extremely hard and have so much potential going forward,” Isaman added. “I want to thank our seniors Kia Nelson and Kelsey Isaman for their hard work, leadership, and commitment over the years. You both will be greatly missed. I would also like to thank the parents and fans for all your support and the administration for all your hard work and support.”