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Eagles defeat Staples-Motley, drop Pink Out match to Sebeka

Players from both Sebeka and New York Mills donned pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Money was raised at the game to aid former Eagles' graduate Lisa Preuss. Robert Williams/FOCUS1 / 4
Lexie Rankka sets one of her 28 assists in front of the audience donned in pink during Thursday night's match with Sebeka. Robert Williams/FOCUS2 / 4
Ellie Rutten smashes home the game-winning point to clinch the first set versus Sebeka. Robert Williams/FOCUS3 / 4
Tori Kempenich looks on as Brooke Kupfer makes one of her team-high 21 digs. Robert Williams/FOCUS4 / 4

NEW YORK MILLS -- The Eagles volleyball team played for an effort off the court Thursday hosting Sebeka in the Pink Out game.

The game was played with the theme 'Digging for a Cure' to help support former New York Mills graduate Lisa Preuss in congruence with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Preuss was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of this year.

Preuss is currently undergoing treatment at the Roger Maris Cancer Center.

"The match was very successful and was very memorable for the players, the fans, and for the Jeff and Lisa Preuss family," Eagles Head Coach Angela Paavola said.

Several hundred dollars were raised and collected for for the Preuss family.

"It was an amazing night topped off with good games of volleyball," Paavola said.

The Eagles stormed out to a convincing 25-13 win in the first set.

The Eagles held double-digit leads at 17-7 and 21-9 before Ellie Rutten sealed the game with a big kill on game point.

"Definitely, the best we have played this entire season."

Rutten had a career high 21 kills in the game. Taylor Plautz added 13 kills in an impressive performance when she got her chances to attack the net.

Tori Kempenich added eight kills. The trip combined for 42 of the team's 48 total kills.

Lexie Rankka moved the ball around for the Eagles and finished with her season high of 28 assists.

Set two, which has been somewhat of a conundrum for the Eagles this season, went to Sebeka 25-23.

After a tie at 18 points, Sebeka won the race for the final seven points.

The Eagles led the entire first half of the first set, by as much as six points at 12-6.

The Trojans clawed back to a tie at 15 and the two teams were never separated by more than two points to a second 25-23 victory for the visitors.

Brett Brockpahler spiked the set-winning point with authority foreshadowing the finale in set four.

Five ties, at three, five, seven, eight and nine points accentuated a tight beginning to the fourth set.

New York Mills took the lead at 15-11, but again found the score knotted at 19.

Sebeka pushed to match point up 24-21 and Brockpahler had an open court and she smashed the game-winner down giving Eagle defenders no chance to keep the game alive.

"We made a few mental errors at the exact wrong moments to drop the other three games," Paavola said.

Earlier in the week, the Eagles went the distance at Staples-Motley for a 3-2 victory.

Plautz served 10 straight points in game 5 to seal the victory.

Plautz had eight aces and was joined by teammate Brooke Kupfer who added six for 14 free points for the Eagles. Kupfer also had a team-high 20 digs.

"Not our best performance on the court physically, but mentally one of our better performances. We came back and played good ball in games four and five."

The Eagles had difficult getting anything going on offense the middle games and all players struggled with mental errors coming up a little short in each attempt offensively and defensively.

"We fought back and did not give up and that has been a huge obstacle for us in years to overcome so that shows improvement right there. I am proud of us for not giving up and coming out winners."

Senior Kelly Pearson led Staples-Motley with 18 kills, but was outdone by Rutten's 20.

The Eagles won 40 of the final 60 game points to prevail in the match.

Sebeka 3, NY Mills 1

25-13, 23-25, 23-25, 21-25


Plautz 13

Rutten 21

Kempenich 8


Rankka 28 set assists

Irons 10 set assists


Kupfer 21

Kempenich 12


Plautz 10


Rutten 6

Imsande 2

Kempenich 1

NY Mills 3, Staples-Motley 2

25-14, 24-26, 20-25, 25-13, 15-7


Rutten 20 kills

Imsande 15 kills

Plautz 8 kills

Kempenich 7 kills

Team 51 kills


Rankka 27 set assists

Irons 14 set assists


Plautz 24/26 8 aces

Kupfer 20/21 6 aces

Rutten 9/9 1 ace

Imsande 7/9 2 Aces

Kempenich 8/9

Rankka 17/17


Kupfer 20

Kempenich 17

Rankka 12

Plautz 11


Rutten 8 solo

Imsande 2 solo

Plautz 1 solo

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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