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Volleyball: Eagles wrap up regular season play

Tori Kempenich had a career-high 17 kills versus Pelican Rapids. Robert Williams/FOCUS

The New York Mills volleyball team defeated Pelican Rapids and Pillager last week to head into the weekend Barnesville tournament on a two-match sin streak.

The Eagles swept Pelican Rapids Tuesday at home 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-21).

New York Mills got off to a good start taking the first set 26-24. Close sets have not gone the Eagles' way much of the season leading up to the final week.

"This is the first time this season we finally have won these close games," Head Coach Angela Paavola said.

The Eagles have played 11 games in which the score was decided by two points and had lost the 10 priors.

"This is a turning point for the team and we have been waiting for this moment," said Paavola. "When it finally happened the girls noted it and their confidence continued."

Tori Kempenich had her best game of the season and her career. Kempenich had the hot hand with a career high 17 kills.

Seven Eagles served at least one ace in the match while giving up only two free points from the service line.

The Eagles hit the road to Pillager in a conference match-up against the Huskies.

On paper, both teams are fairly even in wins and losses, hanging around the .500 mark.

The Eagles took advantage of Pillager mistakes and played great defense in the backcourt and at the net.

"This was a good game for us and we continued our intensity from Tuesday's match. We play better with a quicker offense and that is what we have been working on in practice. We did a lot of this (Thursday) and it was successful for us."

Ellie Rutten led the way offensively with 17 kills. Brooke Kupfer had 15 digs.

New York Mills concluded regular season play at Barnesville for their tournament filled with potential section playoff teams, including the host Trojans, Norman County East, Ulen-Hitterdal, Verndale, Battle Lake, Rothsay, and Park Christian.

The Eagles' first match was against a tough Ulen-Hitterdal team and the Eagles fell short 20-25 and 25-24 after a misunderstanding how the tournament was being played.

Teams did not have to win by two points, games ended at point 25.

The team thought they had one more chance but the referee ended the game at 25-24.

Next the Eagles faced Park Christian.

The Eagles took full advantage of game one winning 25-9 and prevailed 25-21 in the clincher.

The Eagles dropped game one 25-24 and lost game two 21-25 to Norman County East.

"NCE found many more holes in our defense than we ever thought we had," said Paavola. "Our hitters had some difficulty trying to find the court and the team did have some miscommunication errors in this match as well."

New York Mills places third their pool and squared off against Rothsay.

Rothsay won game one 23-25 but had the Eagles took a lead early and led the entire second game winning 25-15.

The deciding game came down to the final points with Rothsay winning 15-13.

"This is not the level of playing I was expecting after the last couple of weeks we have had. Good to get this out of our system before playoffs begin and this just gives us more insight on what we need to work on before tournament time. We have been serving 94 percent or higher most of the season but today we missed more serves than we have this entire year."

The Eagles await the Section 6 tournament seedings, which will be released Friday, Oct. 19.

Playoffs begin on Thursday Oct. 25.


NYM 3, Pelican Rapids 0


Kempenich 17

Rutten 16

Plautz 6

Rankka 3

Imsande 3

Team: 114/127 attempts total 46 kills


Rankka 25 assists

Irons 15 assists

Frost 5 set assists


Rankka 14/14 1 ace

Kempenich 12/12 1 ace

Plautz 11/11 with 2 aces

Kupfer 9/9 1 ace

Paavola 7/71 ace

Frost 8/9 2 aces

Rutten 6/7 with 1 ace

Team: 72/74 with 9 aces


Kupfer 20 digs

Kempenich 15 digs

Rankka 14 digs

Irons 9 digs

Rutten 9 digs

Paavola 7 digs

Novak 4 digs

Team:86 digs


Imsande solo 3

Rutten 2 solo

NYM 3, Pillager 0


Rutten 17 kills

Imsande 9 kills

Plautz 8 kills

Kempenich 7 kills

Team: 42 kills


Rankka 26

Irons 10

Frost 3


Rankka 12/12 1 ace

Kempenich 12/12

Kupfer 10/10

Paavola 8/8

Imsande 6/6

Irons 4/4

Frost 4/4

Plautz 8/9 3 aces

Rutten 8/9 1 ace

Team: 72/79 5 aces


Kupfer 15 digs

Kempenich 10 digs

Paavola 9 digs

Rankka 8 digs

Plautz 7 digs

Rutten 6 digs

Imsande 5 digs

Irons 5 digs

Frost 2 digs

Team: 67 digs

Serve receive:

Kupfer 24

Kempenich 11

Paavola 9


Imsande 3 solo

Rutten 2 solo

Tournament statistics:


Kempenich 19 kills 29/31 2 aces 1 solo block 49 digs

Rankka 2 kills, 24/24 1 ace 32 digs, 48 set assists

Kupfer 28/28 1 ace, 63 digs

Plautz 15 kills, 8 digs 1 solo

Irons 13/13 aces 15 digs, 30 set assists

Paavola 9/12 2 aces 26 digs

Rutten 37 kills, 14/14 serving, 8 digs, 9 solo blocks

Imsande 12 kills, 19/20 3 aces, 17 digs, 3 solo blocks

Frost 12/14 serving, 2 digs

Novak 4 digs 4 set assists.

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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