Fast starts ignite Pirates' win
Slow starts in all four games Tuesday night resulted in Park Rapids' first loss against a Section 8AA volleyball team this season.
Crookston jumped out to early leads in each game to ignite a 25-11, 25-23, 21-25, 25-17 victory at the Area High School gym.
In Game 1, the Pirates followed a kill by Hailey Lundin with an 8-0 run to build an 8-1 advantage. A tip by Megan Norby, a block by Olivia Vaadeland, three kills by Norby, and a spike by Hannah Wolff kept the Panthers within 18-10 before Crookston closed with a 7-1 run.
Crookston took charge early in Game 2 by claiming a 15-8 advantage. Wolff and Leeza Tostenson had kills and Taylor Smythe served an ace for the Panthers during that stretch. A tip by Vaadeland, an ace serve by Norby, another block by Vaadeland and a kill by Wolff sparked Park Rapids to within 16-12. After the Pirates claimed a 20-12 edge, an ace serve by Jenny Palm, two kills by Norby, a kill by Vaadeland and a tip by Smythe tied the match at 23-23. Crookston won the next two points to take a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates jumped out to a 6-3 lead in Game 3 before Park Rapids went on an 8-3 run to take the lead. A kill by Lundin, two kills by Norby, an ace serve by Shelby Weckwerth and a tip by Wolff gave the Panthers an 11-9 edge. Kills by Wolff, Norby and Vaadeland and ace serves by Norby and Weckwerth resulted in an 18-18 tie. Kills by Wolff, Lundin, Tostenson and Norby helped the Panthers force another game.
Two kills by Wolff, kills by Vaadeland and Norby, and an ace serve by Weckwerth helped the Panthers overcome a 3-0 deficit in Game 4 for a 10-9 lead. Kills by Tostenson and Norby kept the Panthers within 15-13 before Crookston went on a 9-2 run. A kill by Vaadeland and an ace serve by Norby made it 24-17 before Crookston ended the match.
Rachel Wold had 12 kills and Kailey Biermaier had nine kills to lead the Pirates, who improved to 8-2 on the season.
Norby had 14 kills, 20 digs and three ace serves to lead the Panthers. Wolff had nine kills, Vaadeland had eight kills and two solo blocks, and Weckwerth had 21 digs. Palm had 18 set assists as the Panthers fell to 2-1 against section opponents and 8-7 overall.