Head coach Stephanie Hanson says the Park Rapids volleyball team is still learning how to close out the close matches.
The Panthers earned a passing grade on the latest test against Bemidji Thursday night at the Area High School gym.
Led by season highs of 14 ace serves, 56 set assists and 131 digs, the Panthers fought through adversity after winning the first two sets for a marathon 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 15-10 victory.
Park Rapids used an ace serve and seven service points by Katelyn Weaver to jump out to an 8-0 lead in Set 1. Rilee Michaelson had three kills and teamed with Kendra Scholz for a block during that run while Kaisa Coborn and Kamree Carlson also chipped in kills. Three kills by Coborn and two kills apiece by Michaelson and Carlson kept the Panthers in front 18-11 before two kills and a tip by Michaelson and a kill by Coborn closed out the opening set.
A tip by Weaver, kills by Michaelson, Scholz and Coborn, and an ace serve by Carlson helped the Panthers tie Set 2 at 8-8. After two kills by Carlson and two ace serves by Weaver gave Park Rapids a 12-10 advantage, Bemidji rallied to take an 18-15 lead. Michaelson then served an ace and five points as a pair of kills and a tip by Coborn gave the Panthers a 20-18 advantage. Kayleah Breitweser and Weaver combined for a block during that run. Bemidji reclaimed a 21-20 lead before an ace serve by Coborn and a pair of kills by Carlson gave Park Rapids the second set.
Mikerra Mathews served Bemidji to a 6-0 lead to start Set 3. Three kills by Michaelson, a block by Michaelson and Coborn, and a kill by Carlson kept the Panthers within 18-9 before Carlson served an ace, Breitweser had a block, and Michaelson and Breitweser had kills to cut the gap to 21-15. Coborn served an ace during a 6-0 run as two kills by Carlson and a block by Weaver and Breitweser tied the set at 21-21. Carlson followed with a kill for a 22-22 tie before a kill by Mathews helped Bemidji close out that set.
A block and kill by Michaelson and an ace serve by Carlson helped the Panthers play to a 4-4 tie to open Set 4 before Taylor Wade served an ace to give Bemidji an 8-4 edge. A kill by Breitweser, an ace serve by Coborn, three kills by Carlson, two kills by Michaelson, a kill by Coborn and a tip by Weaver kept the Panthers within 20-14 before Kora Just served three points as a kill by Carlson and a block by Weaver and Scholz made it 21-18. Mathews served an ace and Ashley Hofstad had a winning tip as Bemidji evened the match and forced a deciding set.
Three kills by Michaelson and kills by Carlson and Coborn sparked the Panthers to a 7-4 lead to begin Set 5. Coborn followed a kill with an ace serve and Breitweser had a kill as Park Rapids took a 10-8 lead. Michaelson scored off a dig and Carlson had a kill for a 12-10 lead before Carlson served out the match. Michaelson sandwiched a tip and kill around a Carlson ace serve down the stretch as the Panthers prevailed.
Carlson’s 21 kills, Michaelson’s 20 kills and Coborn’s 14 kills led the Panthers, who pounded down 61 kills to just miss matching its season high of 62 while making 18 hitting errors in the match. Weaver set up 55 kills. Carlson served five aces and 14 points, Weaver served 11 points and Coborn served four aces and 11 points. The Panthers put 95 of 105 serves in play. Just had 46 digs while Carlson (22), Michaelson (21), Coborn (17) and Weaver (10) also had double digits in digs as the Panthers improved to 12-4 on the season.
Taylor Wade had 15 kills while Emily Wade contributed 12 kills, four ace serves and 20 digs for Bemidji. Jenna Anderson chipped in four ace serves and 23 digs as Bemidji fell to 7-9 on the season.