C-I escapes with another marathon win

The Park Rapids volleyball team dropped another close Mid-State Conference match to the Rangers.

Sydney Lange (8) and Katie Burlingame (13) went up to block a spike by Crosby-Ironton's Katie Kovatovich during Thursday night's Mid-State Conference match. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

It was deja vu all over again for the Park Rapids volleyball team.

In the first meeting this season, Crosby-Ironton outlasted the Panthers 25-22, 20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-13 at Crosby.

In the Mid-State Conference rematch at the Area High School gym on Thursday (Oct. 29), the Rangers once again escaped with a marathon win. This time Crosby-Ironton prevailed with a similar 25-17, 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 16-14 victory.

“It was a good game. It was so close. We just couldn't finish,” said Park Rapids head coach Christine Sauer. “I was expecting it to be a battle. I was hoping to pick up on our first win, but as I continue to tell the girls right now it is about progress and we are making progress. We are improving every game. We haven't had a game that we have gone backwards yet this season.”

A 9-3 run midway through Set 1 put Crosby-Ironton in control. Kills by Kate Aukes, Katie Burlingame, Sydney Lange and Quinn Hunter kept the Panthers within 11-7 before C-I pushed the lead to 16-7. Two kills by Burlingame and kills by Riley Pike and Lange made it 21-14 before the Rangers closed out the opening set.


The Rangers opened Set 2 with a 6-1 advantage before Park Rapids responded. Two kills apiece by Burlingame and Aukes, an ace serve by Pike, and a kill by Hunter cut the gap to 14-12. Abby Kirlin served two aces during a 5-0 service run that gave the Panthers a 17-14 advantage. A tip and a kill by Pike, a kill by Burlingame, and an ace serve by Keely Peterson evened the match.

The Panthers used kills by Aukes, Burlingame, Lange and Pike and an ace serve by Lange to claim a 19-15 advantage in Set 3. After a sideout, Mya Decent served nine straight points, punctuating that run with an ace as C-I took a 2-1 lead.

After kills by Burlingame and Hunter gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead to start Set 4, Peterson served five straight points to push the advantage to 8-1. Lange had a winning tip and Burlingame had a kill during that run. A kill by Lange, a tip by Aukes, a kill by Burlingame and a tip by Pike kept the Panthers in front 18-16 before Pike served an ace and Burlingame had a kill for a 21-16 lead. A pair of kills by Chloe Tretbar helped Park Rapids close out that set and force a deciding one.

Kills by Burlingame and Aukes tied Set 5 at 5-5. Two kills by Aukes and kills by Burlingame and Hunter gave Park Rapids a 12-11 edge. A kill by Burlingame gave the Panthers a match point at 14-13, but Decent followed a sideout by serving the final two points as C-I prevailed.

“I was happy that they rebounded after that third set. These girls know how to play volleyball, but are still working on playing at a high level consistently and frequently,” said Sauer. “We have expectations on continuing to improve our game play.”

Burlingame and Aukes hit double figures in three categories with Burlingame tallying 14 kills, 17 digs and 10 service points while Aukes contributed 10 kills, 23 digs and 10 service points. Peterson served 15 points and had 19 digs while Pike (11) and Kirlin (10) also had double digits in digs. Pike set up 38 kills as the Panthers fell to 0-4 in conference matches and 0-5 overall.

Kali Papenfuss (11), Decent (9), Josie Schaefer (8) and Jacey Rydberg (7) combined for 35 kills while Haylee Hanson (28), Papenfuss (26) and Decent (17) combined for 71 of the Rangers’ 113 digs. Decent also had three blocks and Hanson served three aces as C-I improved to 2-3 in Mid-State matches and 2-4 overall.

Pequot Lakes (3-0), Staples-Motley(2-1) and Aitkin (2-1) top the conference standings while Detroit Lakes is 1-1.


“As COVID has been hitting the community, we are starting to see a strain on our numbers due to quarantines and absences, but we know we aren't the only ones in this boat. I just hope to continue to be able to put out six starting players and have them play hard and work together,” said Sauer. “I'm confident that the hard work these girls are putting in will pay off and they will see a win or two in the win column. We are moving in the right direction and they are keeping their chins up through the challenges this season is presenting. We will continue to progress forward.”

Park Rapids statistics
Serving: Kirlin 9 for 14 (2 aces), Hunter 1 for 1, Pike 16 for 16 (5 aces), Peterson 24 for 24 (1 ace), Lange 5 for 8 (1 ace), Aukes 19 for 20, Burlingame 17 for 17 (3 aces).
Service points: Peterson 15, Aukes 10, Burlingame 10, Pike 8, Kirlin 7, Lange 3.
Attacks: Burlingame 47 (14 kills), Aukes 44 (10 kills), Hunter 31 (7 kills), Pike 30 (7 kills), Lange 27 (8 kills), Kirlin 6 (1 kill), Peterson 2.
Sets: Pike 152 (38 assists), Burlingame 8 (1 assist), Aukes 7 (1 assist), Hunter 5 (2 assists), Peterson 5 (2 assists), Lange 5 (1 assist), Kirlin 3 (1 assist).
Digs: Aukes 23, Peterson 19, Burlingame 17, Pike 11, Kirlin 10, Hunter 5, Lange 3.
Assisted blocks: Pike 2, Kirlin 1, Lange 1.
Serve-receive: Peterson 28 for 29, Kirlin 23 for 24, Burlingame 17 for 19, Aukes 16 for 18, Lange 2 for 2.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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