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Volleyball playoffs: Eagles defeat Bombers, will face Frazee Friday

Lexie Rankka puts a block up in the Eagles' 3-0 victory over Waubun Thursday night. Robert Williams/FOCUS1 / 2
Ellie Rutten scores a kill on this shot in Thursday's playoff opener. Robert Williams/FOCUS2 / 2

NEW YORK MILLS - The sixth-ranked Eagles swept No. 11 Waubun 3-0 in the opening round of Section 6A-North volleyball playoffs Thursday evening.

New York Mills started off game one on a roll jumping out to a 16-6 lead and took nine of the next 11 points to win easily 25-8.

"We have not played in two weeks and we needed a game and the win is good for us," Eagles' Head Coach Angela Paavola said. "We came out with intensity and fire in game one winning quick, using all of our weapons, and playing great volleyball."

The games tightened a bit as the match evolved but the Eagles finished off the Bombers 25-18 and 25-23.

The loss ends Waubun's season with a record of 0-19.

New York Mills has had 25 matches to think about a season-opening loss at home to Frazee. The Eagles and the No. 4 Hornets (15-10-1) will square off tonight, Friday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. in Frazee.

The season's first game against the Hornets started an uncomfortable trend for the Eagles, namely, close game two struggles.

One point can make all the difference in volleyball and Frazee snatched a big momentum shift winning the second set in a 29-27 thriller leading to a 3-0 sweep of New York Mills.

Both teams traded points after tying at the typical game-winning total of 25.

Each point was tightly contested before Frazee strung two straight together to take the set 29-27.

The Hornets won the first set 25-17 and the third 25-21.

"Game two was the deal breaker," Paavola said back in early August.

The Eagles saw 10 similar instances occur over the season where one to two points were enough to sway match momentum.

As the season progressed, the Eagles have found ways to concentrate on their strengths and negate many of the mistakes that plagued them early in the season.

An improved serve receive has set up a offense that plays best with quick movement of the ball getting set up for Ellie Rutten, Tori Kempenich and Taylor Plautz to do much of the scoring.

Frazee will meet an improved club Friday night.

"We need fast pace and action to keep us moving other wise we stand still. We will have to play better against Frazee and we will. I am confident in this group of players, we have the talent and the ability to play great volleyball when the time is right and when it is a faster pace. Frazee will be a tough opponent and it will be a good match."

A win will move New York Mills into a likely rematch with Ada-Borup, the team that ended their 2011 campaign.

To move on the Eagles will need to find a way to control the Hornets' Alexis Tappe.

Tappe had a game-high 13 kills in the teams only match-up this season. Kempenich led the Eagles with eight.

Two other games were played in 6A-North on Thursday night.

No. 9 Norman County East defeated No. 8 Park Christian 3-1 in a mild upset.

NCE now faces No. 1 Barnesville (24-2).

No. 7 Rothsay beat No. 10 Norman County West 3-1.

Rothsay will play No. 2 Ada-Borup (17-5).

Game stats:

Imsande 13/13 7 kills

Plautz 8/13 1 kill

Rutten 33/34 17 kills

Kempenich 22/26 6 kills

Rankka 1 kill

team had 33 kills

Rankka 12 set assists

Irons 14 set assists


Imsande 7/7

Plautz 12/12 1 ace

Rutten 9/9

Kempenich 5/6

Rankka 7/7

Irons 8/8 2 aces

Paavola 3/3

Kupfer 12/13 2 aces

Frost 8/9 3 aces

team 71/74 8 aces 95.9%



Kempenich 13

Rankka 12

Irons 9

Paavola 6

Kupfer 19


Rutten 5 solo

Kempenich 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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