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Panthers open season with impressive win over Roseau

Jaiden McCollum (left), Katelyn Weaver (9), Kaisa Coborn (6) and Kennedy Carlson (5) celebrated after a point in Park Rapids' season-opening victory over Roseau Tuesday night. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Losing in five sets at Roseau in last year's season opener sent a statement that the Park Rapids volleyball team had the talent to be a Section 8AA contender.

Defeating Roseau in this year's season opener sent a statement that the Panthers have the talent to contend for the section title again this year.

Kamree Carlson, Kaisa Coborn, Jaiden McCollum and Rilee Michaelson combined for 50 kills in leading the Panthers to an impressive 25-11, 25-14, 20-25, 25-15 win over Roseau Tuesday night at the Area High School gym.

"This is what the girls have been working so hard to do," said Park Rapids head coach Stephanie Hanson. "They played so well as a team and proved to themselves that they can play at a high level. They got down to business and went in on all cylinders. Everyone did their job. This was a team victory."

The Panthers dominated the first two sets by jumping out to 18-6 leads in both. Park Rapids didn't make an unforced error in Set 1 and had only four unforced errors in Set 2.

Coborn served seven points and had two kills as the Panthers jumped out to an 18-6 lead in Set 1. Four kills by Carlson, three kills by McCollum and two ace serves by Michaelson sparked that early run. A tip by Carlson, another ace serve by Michaelson, and kills by McCollum and Coborn closed out the set.

Kennedy Carlson served and ace and six points as the Panthers jumped out to another 18-6 lead in Set 2. Michaelson also served an ace and contributed two kills and a block during that stretch while Kamree Carlson had two kills and Coborn had a kill and a dig that set up a winning tip by Kennedy Carlson. After Ella Helgeson and Abby Huss served aces to cut the gap to 19-13, two kills and a tip by McCollum and a kill by Coborn closed out that set.

Three kills apiece by Victoria Johnson and Rylie Bjerklie and two kills by Erin Leverington led Roseau to a 22-14 advantage in Set 3. Kamree Carlson's three kills and ace serve and two kills by Coborn led the Panthers. Kills by Coborn and McCollum rallied the Panthers to within 23-20 before a kill by Katie Borowicz forced a fourth set.

Roseau led 4-3 in Set 4 before a kill by Kortne Byer, an ace serve by McCollum, and kills by Kamree Carlson, Michaelson and Coborn gave the Panthers a 19-9 advantage. Two kills apiece by Michaelson and Kamree Carlson closed out the match.

The girls executed and kept unforced errors to a minimum. Roseau couldn't keep up with our tempo," said Hanson. "We knew we couldn't take them lightly and the girls took control in the first two sets. The girls came out strong from the start."

Kamree Carlson's 18 kills and 11 digs, Coborn's 12 kills and 16 digs, McCollum's 11 kills and 10 service points, and Michaelson's nine kills and 13 service points sparked the Panthers in this battle of two of the top teams in Section 8AA. Kennedy Carlson added 41 set assists for the Panthers, who lost in five sets at Roseau in last year's season opener.

Katie Borowicz had nine kills, Kacie Borowicz had nine digs and Johnson had three ace blocks for the Rams, who opened the season with a victory over Kittson County Central Monday night. Roseau was rated as high as No. 8 in the preseason Class AA polls.

"This was a huge win for us," said Hanson. "We might have a target on our backs now, so we have to continue to improve. But this should give us confidence for the rest of the season."

Park Rapids statistics

Serves: Ke. Carlson 11 for 13 (1 ace), Coborn 16 for 18, Ka. Carlson 12 for 13 (1 ace), Weaver 10 for 11, McCollum 16 for 16 (2 aces), Michaelson 20 for 24 (4 aces).

Service points: Michaelson 13, Coborn 11, McCollum 10, Ke. Carlson 8, Ka. Carlson 7, Weaver 5.

Attacks: Byer 1 for 1 (1 kill), Ke. Carlson 1 for 1 (1 kill), Coborn 20 for 24 (12 kills), Ka. Carlson 28 for 31 (18 kills), Weaver 3 for 3, McCollum 26 for 28 (11 kills), Michaelson 17 for 18 (9 kills).

Sets: Ke. Carlson 88 (41 assists), Weaver 8 (2 assists), Coborn 1, McCollum 1, Michaelson 1.

Digs: Coborn 16, Ke. Carlson 12, Ka. Carlson 11, Michaelson 7, McCollum 6, Weaver 4, Byer 3.

Blocks (solo-assists): Michaelson 2-1, McCollum 0-4, Ke. Carlson 0-2, Coborn 0-2, Weaver 0-1.

Serve-receive: Byer 7 for 7, Coborn 14 for 20, Ka. Carlson 8 for 10, Weaver 11 for 15, McCollum 10 for 10.