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Panthers defeat Lakers, win title at Nevis

Hailey Lundin spiked the ball past two Detroit Lakes players during Park Rapids' Mid-State Conference win Thursday night. (Vance Carlson / Enterprise)

The last time the Park Rapids volleyball team defeated Detroit Lakes was in 2004.

Coincidently, that was the last time the Panthers finished the season with a winning record.

On Thursday night at the Area High School gym, the Panthers defeated their Mid-State Conference rivals 21-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-22. That victory guarantees Park Rapids will have its first winning season since 2004.

The Panthers followed that impressive win with three more impressive wins to claim the title at Saturday's eight-team Nevis Invitational. Park Rapids defeated Verndale (25-14, 25-16), Cromwell (20-25, 25-21, 15-9) and the host Tigers (26-24, 16-25, 15-11) to improve to 14-8 on the season with three more regular-season matches remaining.

"The girls played well," said Park Rapids head coach Molly Aukes. "It was a fun week."

Park Rapids hosted Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Tuesday night and will close out the Mid-State Conference scheduled against Staples-Motley next Tuesday night.

Panthers rally past Lakers

After losing a big lead in Game 1, the Panthers were determined not to lose another game against Detroit Lakes.

A tip and kill by Megan Norby, a pair of kills by Olivia Vaadeland, three kills by Hannah Wolff and a kill by Hailey Lundin gave the Panthers a 16-11 lead in Game 1. The Lakers responded with a 14-5 run to take the early lead.

A tip by Wolff, a kill and tip by Lundin, two kills by Vaadeland, a kill by Wolff, a tip and kill by Lundin, and two kills by Norby gave the Panthers a 16-13 lead in Game 2. Two tips by Jenny Palm, an ace serve by Lundin and a kill by Leeza Tostenson pushed the lead to 24-18. The Lakers pulled to within 24-23 before the Panthers evened the match.

The Lakers jumped out to a 7-3 lead in Game 3 before a tip and ace serve by Norby, a block by Vaadeland, a tip by Lundin, and two kills by Wolff gave the Panthers a 13-11 edge. Two kills by Vaadeland, a tip by Lundin and a kill by Tostenson gave Park Rapids a 22-20 lead. After the Lakers tied it at 22-22, kills by Norby and Vaadeland led to a 24-24 tie before another kill by Norby closed out the game.

Detroit Lakes again took the early lead, claiming a 3-1 advantage in Game 4. Two kills by Tostenson, a block by Vaadeland and Norby, kills by Norby and Vaadeland, an ace serve by Norby and a kill by Lundin gave the Panthers a 13-8 edge. The Lakers rallied to take a 19-17 lead before kills by Wolff, Tostenson and Norby tied the game at 20-20. An ace serve by Tostenson and a winning tip by Norby closed out the match.

Palm finished with 37 set assists with Norby (12), Wolff (11) and Tostenson (10) combining for 33 kills. Norby and Vaadeland led the defense with two solo blocks each while Lundin led the way with 27 digs as the Panthers improved to 3-1 in conference matches.

Panthers win title at Nevis

The Panthers played three solid matches to win the Nevis Invitational title.

Vaadeland served a string of seven points in Game 1 and a string of six points in Game 2 to lead the Panthers past Verndale. Norby had five kills and Weckwerth had 13 digs in that match.

In the win over Cromwell, Tostenson served two aces and Vaadeland had eight kills to send the Panthers to the title match. Palm had 18 set assists and Weckwerth had 22 digs in that victory.

The Panthers won the clutch points in the first and third games to defeat Nevis in the championship match.

Palm served an ace in giving the Panthers a 4-0 lead in Game 1. Kills by Vaadeland and Wolff, a tip by Palm, and a block by Vaadeland and Tostenson gave the Panthers a 21-19 lead. A kill by Vaadeland and tips by Norby and Lundin helped close out the game.

Nevis jumped out to an 18-7 lead in Game 2 to even the match.

A kill by Wolff, two kills by Norby and a kill by Lundin gave the Panthers a 5-4 lead in Game 3. Tips by Lundin and Norby pushed the lead to 11-8 before a kill by Norby and an ace serve by Tostenson gave the Panthers the win.

Palm had 19 set assists with Norby leading the way with 11 kills. Lundin (12), Weckwerth (11) and Norby (11) had double digits in digs as Park Rapids avenged a loss to Nevis in the fifth match of the season.