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Panthers rebound from loss to W-DC to defeat Pequot Lakes

Kortne Byer had to dive to make a dig during Park Rapids' win over Pequot Lakes Tuesday night. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Stephanie Hanson was a little worried about how the starters of the Park Rapids volleyball team would respond a night after suffering their first loss of the season.

The Park Rapids head coach had nothing to worry about as the Panthers rebounded to keep their undefeated record in Mid-State Conference play intact with a decisive 25-12, 25-23, 25-14 victory over Pequot Lakes Tuesday night at the Area High School gym.

"The girls did a nice job of rebounding from our first loss," said Hanson. "A loss can be a good thing. It forces us to figure out how we can be better. We're going to learn from that loss and work harder and get to where we want to be at the end of the year."

Park Rapids, which was coming off a 3-2 loss to Wadena-Deer Creek on Monday night, took control early Tuesday night by building leads of 7-1, 14-5 and 19-9 in Set 1. A kill by Rilee Michaelson, two kills by Jaiden McCollum and a block by Kennedy Carlson provided a quick 7-1 lead. Three kills by Kamree Carlson and a kill and ace serve by Kennedy Carlson made it 14-5 before a kill and ace serve by Michaelson pushed the lead to 19-9. Three kills by Kaisa Coborn, a kill by McCollum and a kill by Michaelson closed out the first set.

Park Rapids kept the momentum going to start Set 2 as Michaelson served four points and Katelyn Weaver served five points for a 10-1 advantage. Coborn and McCollum had two kills each during that run. Pequot Lakes responded with an 18-7 run behind ace serves by Britt Kratochvil, Karli Skog and Sannah Lohmiller to claim a 19-17 lead. Kamree Carlson's two kills and kills by Michaelson, Coborn and Weaver led the Panthers during that stretch. The Patriots clung to a 21-19 advantage before a kill by McCollum and a service winner by Kennedy Carlson sparked a closing 6-2 run by Park Rapids.

After Kratochvil opened Set 3 with an ace serve, the Panthers went on a 12-2 run as Weaver served four points while McCollum pounded down four kills and teamed up with Kennedy Carlson for a block. Coborn also had a kill while Kortne Byer earned a point on a dig as Park Rapids jumped out to a 12-3 lead. Two kills by Kamree Carlson and a kill by Michaelson made it 19-9 before two kills by McCollum and kills by Coborn and Kamree Carlson closed out the match.

McCollum finished with 15 kills and Kamree Carlson added 12 kills as the Panthers tallied 45 kills in the match with only seven hitting errors. Kennedy Carlson set up 37 of those kills. The Panthers put 66 of 72 serves in play with Weaver leading the way with 15 service points.

Defensively, Kamree Carlson had 20 digs while Coborn and Byer had 10 digs each as the Panthers improved to 3-0 in the conference and 8-1 overall.

Pequot Lakes fell to 1-2 in Mid-State matches and 10-4 overall. Crosby-Ironton (2-2), Detroit Lakes (1-1) and Staples-Motley (0-2) round out the conference standings.

Park Rapids statistics

Attacks: Byer 2 (1 kill), Ken. Carlson 3 (2 kills), Coborn 25 (8 kills), Kam. Carlson 22 (12 kills), Weaver 5 (2 kills), McCollum 23 (15 kills), Michaelson 8 (5 kills).

Serves: Byer 2 for 2, Ken. Carlson 8 for 9 (2 aces), Coborn 7 for 10, Kam. Carlson 5 for 5, Weaver 20 for 21, McCollum 12 for 13, Michaelson 12 for 21 (1 ace).

Service points: Weaver 15, Michaelson 8, McCollum 7, Ken. Carlson 4, Coborn 4, Kam. Carlson 2.

Sets: Ken. Carlson 76 (37 assists), Weaver 4 (1 assist), McCollum 2, Michaelson 2, Byer 1, Coborn 1.

Digs: Kam. Carlson 20, Coborn 10, Byer 10, Weaver 6, McCollum 5, Michaelson 4, Ken. Carlson 2.

Blocks (solo-assists): Ken. Carlson 1-2, McCollum 0-2.

Serve receive: Byer 4 for 5, Coborn 8 for 8, Kam. Carlson 11 for 12, Weaver 17 for 20, McCollum 5 for 5.

W-DC prevails in thriller

The Panthers had their chances to remain undefeated, but Wadena-Deer Creek prevailed in a battle of two of the state's ranked teams Monday night at the Area High School gym.

The Wolverines relied on 30 blocks and a combined 41 kills by Casey Volkmann and Ellie Miron for a thrilling 18-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 15-6 victory.

W-DC entered this match with one loss and rated No. 6 in the state Class A poll while Park Rapids was undefeated on the season and rated No. 15 in the state Class AA poll.

This match lived up to the advanced billing.

Michaelson sparked the Panthers to a 9-4 lead in Set 1 with an ace serve, a kill and a pair of blocks with Kamree Carlson. A kill by Kamree Carlson and two kills by Michaelson made it 12-11 before Michaelson served two aces and five points to extend the lead to 18-11. McCollum had a kill during that run. Two more kills by McCollum and an ace serve by Coborn helped close out the opening set.

Three kills by Miron, an ace serve by Lila Lohmiller, a block by Kylee Hopp and two kills by Volkmann gave W-DC a 15-8 advantage in Set 2. Kills by McCollum and Kennedy Carlson on Weaver's serve cut the gap to 15-13 while an ace serve by Coborn, two kills by Michaelson and a kill by Kamree Carlson kept the Panthers within 23-22 before a tip by Ashley Adams and a kill by Volkmann evened the match.

An ace serve by Weaver, a block by Kennedy Carlson and McCollum, and kills by Kamree Carlson, Michaelson, Coborn and McCollum produced an 11-9 Park Rapids edge to start Set 3. Kills by Coborn and Kamree Carlson and two kills and an ace serve by McCollum pushed the margin to 16-11 before two kills apiece by Coborn, Kamree Carlson and McCollum ended that set.

Park Rapids maintained the momentum at the start of Set 4 as kills by Michaelson, Coborn, McCollum and Kamree Carlson, a block by Kamree Carlson and Michaelson, and three kills and a block by Michaelson produced a 10-7 lead. An ace serve and kill by Coborn, two kills by McCollum, and kills by Michaelson and Kamree Carlson offset three blocks by Kennedy Gravelle and two kills by Volkmann as the Panthers maintained a 19-15 advantage. The Wolverines rallied behind two kills by Miron, a pair of blocks and two kills by Gravelle, and a kill by Volkmann to force a deciding set.

"We should have won that fourth set," said Hanson. "We put ourselves in a position to win it, but we couldn't close it out."

This time the Wolverines maintained the momentum in Set 5 as Courtny Warren served an ace and four points, Volkmann pounded down three kills, Gravelle had a kill, and Hopp had a block and kill on Adams' serve for a commanding 12-3 lead. Kamree Carlson countered with two kills, but W-DC earned a side-out and closed out the match.

"We played not to lose instead of playing to win," said Hanson. "That's the first time we've done that all year."

Volkmann finished with 26 kills and 15 digs, Miron had 15 kills, Gravelle chipped in 11 blocks and Adams had 44 set assists as the Wolverines improved to 12-1.

McCollum (22), Kamree Carlson (16) and Michaelson (14) combined for 52 of the Panthers' 62 kills. Michaelson and Coborn served three aces each while Michaelson and McCollum served 11 points each. Kennedy Carlson tallied 53 set assists.

Defensively, Michaelson had two solo blocks and four assists while Coborn (19), Kamree Carlson (15), McCollum (14) and Weaver (11) had double digits in digs.

The Panthers had 25 hitting errors, 10 service errors and 11 errors on serve receive in suffering their first loss of the season.

"We had our chances, but we didn't execute. I thought our defense was excellent, but our front line struggled at times," said Hanson. "Hopefully we'll learn from this loss. We're going to be in this same situation again. We're going to be in more very competitive matches and hopefully we learned that we have to play with confidence to finish off matches."

Park Rapids statistics

Attacks: Ken. Carlson 8 (1 kill), Coborn 47 (9 kills), Kam, Carlson 38 (16 kills), Weaver 1, McCollum 42 (22 kills), Michaelson 29 (14 kills).

Serves: Ken. Carlson 11 for 14, Coborn 16 for 18 (3 aces), Kam. Carlson 8 for 10, Weaver 16 for 17 (1 ace), McCollum 18 for 19 (2 aces), Michaelson 20 for 21 (3 aces).

Service points: McCollum 11, Michaelson 11, Coborn 9, Weaver 7, Ken. Carlson 6, Kam. Carlson 3.

Sets: Ken. Carlson 135 (53 assists), Coborn 5 (2 assists), Weaver 4, Kam. Carlson 3, Byer 1 (1 assist).

Digs: Coborn 19, Kam. Carlson 15, McCollum 14, Weaver 11, Byer 8, Ken. Carlson 8, Michaelson 6.

Blocks (solo-assists): Michaelson 2-4, McCollum 0-4, Ken. Carlson 0-3, Kam. Carlson 0-3, Weaver 0-2.

Serve receive: Byer 19 for 22, Coborn 17 for 21, Kam. Carlson 16 for 17, Weaver 19 for 20, McCollum 19 for 21.