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Strong service sparks victory over Cardinals

Katie Just received a serve during Park Rapids' Mid-State Conference victory over Staples-Motley Thursday night.1 / 2
Erika Jerger focused on a serve during Park Rapids' win over Staples-Motley Thursday night.2 / 2

A strong serving night sparked the Park Rapids volleyball team to its first win of the season Thursday night.

The Panthers served 18 aces in a 25-10, 25-7, 25-16 Mid-State Conference win over Staples-Motley at the Area High School gym.

Two aces by Grace Bateman, two kills and a block by Olivia Vaadeland, and an ace serve by Katelyn Hilmanowski turned an 8-5 lead in Set 1 into an 18-9 advantage. After a kill by Vaadeland, three ace serves by Shania Johnson closed out the opening set.

Erika Jerger opened Set 2 with seven straight service points. Mady Vaudrin and Vaadeland had kills and teamed up for a block during that stretch. Two ace serves by Hilmanowski and a kill by Justine Rittgers gave the Panthers a 12-1 edge before an ace serve by Johnson, a tip by Vaadeland and a kill by Bateman made it 16-4. Bateman served out the final seven points with the aid of an ace and kills by Hilmanowski, Allie Bade and Vaudrin.

Three aces by Hilmanowski and a kill by Vaudrin gave the Panthers a quick 5-0 lead in Set 3. An ace serve by Ashley Thelen and a kill and ace serve by Vaadeland extended the lead to 10-2. Staples-Motley rallied to within 12-9, but an ace serve and a tip by Bateman, a tip by Megan Grimes, and two kills by Vaadeland made it 18-11. Katie Just served an ace during a 4-0 run before a kill by Rittgers and a tip by Thelen ended the match.

Hilmanowski finished with six ace serves and 11 points while Bateman served four aces and 13 points. Johnson served four aces and combined with Vaadeland and Jerger for 21 service points. Vaadeland led the Panthers with 11 kills and two solo blocks while Bateman had 13 set assists.

"The keys were we stayed consistent on serving and passing. When you can do that, the rest falls into place," said Park Rapids head coach Molly Aukes, whose team improved to 1-3 on the season. "We were able to run some faster tempo attacks and the team had a lot of fun. It was a good win."

Park Rapids statistics

Serves: Thelen 3 for 4 (1 ace), Bateman 14 for 16 (4 aces), Rittgers 1 for 3, Jerger 10 for 10, Grimes 3 for 3, Vaadeland 9 for 10 (2 aces), Just 5 for 5 (1 ace), Johnson 9 for 9 (4 aces), Hilmanowski 17 for 17 (6 aces).

Service points: Bateman 13, Hilmanowski 11, Jerger 7, Vaadeland 7, Johnson 7, Just 4, Grimes 2, Thelen 1.

Attacks: Vaadeland 23 (11 kills), Rittgers 11 (3 kills), Bateman 9 (4 kills), Vaudrin 7 (2 kills), Bade 5 (1 kill), Hilmanowski 4 (1 kill), Dean 3, Thelen 2 (1 kill), Grimes 2 (1 kill), Jerger 1.

Sets: Bateman 38 (13 assists), Johnson 11 (3 assists), Thelen 5 (1 assist), Vaudrin 2 (1 assist), Vaadeland 2, Hilmanowski 2, Rittgers 1, Grimes 1.

Digs: Vaadeland 13, Jerger 6, Bateman 5, Hilmanowski 4, Bade 3, Just 3, Rittgers 2, Grimes 2, Dean 2, Thelen 1, Vaudrin 1.

Solo blocks: Vaadeland 2.

Assisted blocks: Vaudrin 2, Vaadeland 2, Rittgers 1, Grimes 1.

Serve-receive: Bateman 3 for 3, Rittgers 7 for 7, Jerger 8 for 9, Grimes 2 for 2, Vaadeland 6 for 6, Hilmanowski 2 for 2.