Panthers split four tournament matches, top Braves in close battle
Olivia Vaadeland took charge down the stretch in the fourth set to seal Park Rapids' volleyball victory over Menahga Tuesday night at the Area High School gym.
The Panthers prevailed 25-15, 25-23, 24-26, 25-23 in a match that went back-and-forth in the final three sets.
Menahga jumped out to an 8-4 lead in Set 1 behind a tip by Beth Tormanen and a kill and service winner by Jenny Skoog. Two kills by Katelyn Hilmanowski, kills by Megan Grimes, Grace Bateman and Mady Vaudrin, and an ace serve by Bateman gave the Panthers a 16-10 advantage before a kill by Tarah Cleveland and a tip by Skoog pulled Menahga to within 16-15. Hilmanowski followed a kill with eight straight service points to close out the set. Vaadeland and Vaudrin had kills while Hilmanowski served an ace during that stretch.
A block by Vaadeland and Vaudrin and a dig by Katie Just sparked the Panthers to a quick 5-1 lead in Set 2. A tip by Alicia Ahlf and a pair of kills by Arielle Pihlaja tied the set at 6-6. Ace serves by Justine Rittgers and Bateman and kills by Hilmanowski and Rittgers were offset by two kills by Pihlaja and a kill by Skoog as the set stayed tied at 17-17. A dig by Tormanen, an ace serve by Kelsey Christofferson and a kill by Skoog gave Menahga a 20-18 edge before a tip by Rittgers and a dig by Vaadeland gave the Panthers a 22-21 lead. A dig by Skoog, a kill by Bateman and a tip by Tormanen tied it at 23-23 before an ace serve by Grimes gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
A block by Vaadeland gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead in Set 3 before Christofferson served four winners during a 5-0 run to give Menahga a 7-3 advantage. Shania Johnson served four points and Vaadeland had two winning spikes as the Panthers tied it at 8-8. A block by Grimes and Vaadeland was offset by a kill from Skoog as the set stayed tied at 12-12 before Pihlaja served six straight points to give Menahga a 19-14 advantage. Kills by Hilmanowski, Vaadeland and Vaudrin kept the Panthers within 21-18 before kills by Skoog and Pihlaja gave Menahga a 23-20 lead. Rittgers served four points with the aid of a block and kill by Grimes to give Park Rapids a 24-23 edge, but Pihlaja's tip helped the Braves extend the match.
Set 4 was just as close as a pair of kills by Rittgers and a kill by Vaadeland gave Park Rapids a 6-4 lead. Two digs by Tormanen and a tip by Pihlaja pulled Menahga to within 8-7 before kills by Grimes and Hilmanowski kept Park Rapids in front 11-9. Kills by Skoog, Ahlf and Pihlaja helped the Braves tie the score at 18-18. A kill by Vaadeland gave the Panthers a 19-18 edge before two kills by Skoog and a spike by Ahlf during Christofferson's serve gave Menahga a 23-19 advantage. Vaadeland's kill ended that run. Johnson then served the final five points as Vaadeland's block, kill and winning tip sealed the win.
Vaadeland finished with 11 kills, 22 digs and three solo blocks while Jerger tallied 27 digs. Hilmanowski served 14 points and had seven kills, Johnson served 12 points and had 11 set assists, Rittgers served 11 points with 13 digs and Bateman had 14 set assists as the Panthers improved to 4-5.
Skoog's 18 kills, Pihlaja's 15 kills and 10 digs, and Cleveland's 10 kills and eight digs led Menahga, which lost its fourth match in a row to fall to 1-4 on the season.
"I expected a close match. They beat us last year and I knew they would be ready for the match," said Park Rapids head coach Molly Aukes. "It was a good win for us in a few ways. We had some great passing, which allowed us to hit well. Our setters have been working hard making some great plays to set up the hitters. They were a scrappy team and played good defense. The girls really worked hard to put the ball in places they weren't. Talking and listening is always crucial and it paid off."
Park Rapids statistics
Serves: Bateman 14 for 15 (1 ace), Rittgers 18 for 21 (2 aces), Jerger 9 for 9, Grimes 4 for 5 (1 ace), Vaadeland 8 for 9, Johnson 18 for 19, Hilmanowski 19 for 20 (2 aces).
Service points: Hilmanowski 14, Johnson 12, Rittgers 11, Bateman 9, Jerger 5, Grimes 3, Vaadeland 2.
Attacks: Vaadeland 46 (11 kills), Hilmanowski 17 (7 kills), Rittgers 23 (6 kills), Grimes 21 (4 kills), Bateman 22 (3 kills), Vaudrin 12 (3 kills), Johnson 6, Dean 5.
Sets: Bateman 55 (14 assists), Johnson 40 (11 assists), Vaadeland 5, Hilmanowski 3, Grimes 2 (1 assist), Vaudrin 2, Jerger 1, Dean 1.
Digs: Jerger 27, Vaadeland 22, Rittgers 13, Just 10, Bateman 9, Hilmanowski 8, Johnson 7, Grimes 3, Dean 2, Vaudrin 1.
Solo blocks: Vaadeland 3, Grimes 1.
Assisted blocks: Vaadeland 3, Rittgers 2, Grimes 2, Vaudrin 1, Dean 1, Johnson 1, Hilmanowski 1.
Kills: J. Skoog 18, Pihlaja 15, Cleveland 10, Ahlf 8, B. Tormanen 5.
Ace serves: Pihlaja 2, Christofferson 2, Weyer 1.
Digs: Pihlaja 10, Cleveland 8, J. Skoog 7, Weyer 6, B. Tormanen 4, Ahlf 3, M. Tormanen 1, S. Skoog 1, Lopez 1.
Set assists: Weyer 10, Cleveland 4, B. Tormanen 4.
Panthers split tourney matches
The Panthers split four matches at last Saturday's Pine and Lakes tournament at Pine River.
Park Rapids opened with a 25-15, 25-18 win over Blackduck. Vaadeland's nine kills, Johnson's eight service points, Bateman's 12 set assists and Hilmanowski's three ace serves and nine digs led the Panthers.
Parkers Prairie defeated the Panthers 25-17, 25-18 in the second match. Rittgers' seven service points and six digs, Bateman's 10 set assists, and Vaadeland's five kills led Park Rapids.
Pequot Lakes posted a 25-20, 25-23 win in the third match. Grimes and Just served six points each, Bateman had eight set assists and Vaadeland had eight kills to lead the Panthers.
Four kills apiece by Bateman, Grimes, Vaudrin and Vaadeland led the Panthers to a 25-15, 25-18 win over Mahnomen in the final match. Vaadeland also had 12 digs while Bateman had nine set assists and Jerger served six points.
Park Rapids statistics
(For four tournament matches)
Serves: Bateman 20 for 20, Rittgers 25 for 28 (3 aces), Jerger 18 for 20 (1 ace), Bade 3 for 3 (1 ace), Grimes 13 for 16, Vaudrin 2 for 2, Vaadeland 25 for 27 (5 aces), Just 16 for 16 (2 aces), Johnson 26 for 29 (1 ace), Hilmanowski 12 for 15 (3 aces).
Service points: Bateman 6, Rittgers 16, Jerger 15, Bade 2, Grimes 7, Vaudrin 1, Vaadeland 11, Just 10, Johnson 13, Hilmanowski 8.
Attacks: Bateman 24 (9 kills), Rittgers 25 (4 kills), Jerger 2, Bade 8 (3 kills), Grimes 23 (9 kills), Vaudrin 26 (8 kills), Dean 9 (1 kill), Vaadeland 5 (26 kills), Johnson 1, Hilmanowski 19 (5 kills).
Sets: Bateman 87 (39 assists), Rittgers 3 (1 assist), Jerger 1 (1 assist), Bade 2 (1 assist), Grimes 7 (3 assists), Vaudrin 6 (2 assists), Dean 2 (1 assist), Vaadeland 7 (2 assists), Just 1, Johnson 62 (26 assists), Hilmanowski 7 (2 assists).
Digs: Bateman 14, Rittgers 17, Jerger 14, Grimes 8, Vaudrin 6, Vaadeland 23, Just 8, Johnson 7, Hilmanowski 9.
Solo blocks: Grimes 3, Vaudrin 1, Vaadeland 4, Hilmanowski 2.
Assisted blocks: Bateman 1, Grimes 3, Vaudrin 3, Vaadeland 6, Hilmanowski 1.
Braves fall to Verndale
Skoog and Cleveland had three kills each in the Braves' 25-9, 25-17, 25-14 Park Region Conference loss at Verndale on Sept. 8.
Kills: J. Skoog 3, Cleveland 3, Ahlf 2, Pihlaja 2.
Ace serves: B. Tormanen 1.
Digs: B. Tormanen 13, Weyer 6, J. Skoog 5, Cleveland 5, Pihlaja 5, Ahlf 3, M. Tormanen 2, S. Skoog 1.
Blocks: J. Skoog 1.
Set assists: Weyer 9, B. Tormanen 1.