Katelyn Weaver reached a milestone and the Park Rapids volleyball team delivered a statement with a 3-1 win over Roseau in the season opener at the Area High School gym on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Weaver tallied 47 set assists to surpass 1,000 in her career in only her second year as the starting setter and the Panthers used 51 kills to spark a 25-17, 20-25, 27-25, 25-16 victory in a rematch of last year’s Section 8AA championship match. Roseau defeated the Panthers for the section title in 2017 while Park Rapids avenged that loss in last year’s section final.
“I felt that the girls played with confidence,” said Park Rapids head coach Christine Sauer. “They had a good, calm energy on the court. We had a few errors on our side that we could have minimized, but overall it was a good first match against a high-quality team.”
Roseau jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Set 1 before a pair of kills by Rilee Michaelson and an ace serve by Weaver gave the Panthers a 5-4 edge. Two kills apiece by Michaelson and Kamree Carlson, a kill by Kayleah Breitweser, and a pair of blocks kept Park Rapids in front 12-10 before Weaver served an ace and four points to extend the advantage to 17-12. Two kills and an ace serve by Michaelson, an ace serve by Kendra Scholz and a kill by Carlson closed out the opening set.
The Rams extended another early 4-0 advantage to 9-1 to start Set 2 before three kills by Michaelson and a pair of kills by Carlson sliced the deficit to 12-7. Kills by Scholz and Michaelson kept Park Rapids within 17-12 before Roseau played the Panthers even over the next 16 points to even the match. Carlson had a pair of kills for Park Rapids in the late going.
Park Rapids took control in a pivotal Set 3 as four kills by Michaelson, two kills by Breitweser, and ace serves by Weaver and Carlson produced a 15-8 advantage. The Rams responded with a 13-6 run to tie the set at 21-21. The set was tied at 22-22, 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25 before a tip and an ace serve by Michaelson gave Park Rapids the lead.
Carlson served five points as the Panthers claimed a 6-1 lead to start Set 4. Three kills by Carlson and an ace serve by Katie Burlingame made it 15-8 before kills by Scholz, Michaelson and Carlson produced a 20-14 advantage. Two more kills by Carlson closed out the match.
Michaelson’s 25 kills and Carlson’s 19 kills led the Panthers’ offense. Weaver served 13 points while Scholz and Carlson served 10 points each. Park Rapids served eight aces, but had 18 service errors to go along with 18 hitting errors.
Carlson led the defense with 21 digs while Burlingame had 14 digs and Kora Just and Michaelson had 13 digs apiece. The Panthers also had 10 blocks in the match with Scholz assisting on seven of them. Park Rapids made only five errors on serve receive.
“After the second set I reassured them that they had the skills, power and motivation to take the third set. We talked about how we struggled to get ahead early on in the first two sets. A huge positive with the first two sets was how hard we finished. Going into the third set and fourth sets were much better starts,” said Sauer. “I think that Roseau played incredible defense. They are a very scrappy team. With that being said, I think the girls did a good job playing smart and finding the court and our serve receive was pretty consistent. Areas that we could work on based off that match are our service errors and net violations.”