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DL spikers ace PR in Mid-State bout

In a normal volleyball contest, a solid serving game by a team usually sets up an effective offense.

But Thursday's game between the home-team Detroit Lakes squad and Park Rapids was not a normal one, as the Lakers used their serving as an offensive weapon.

Scoring 16 aces in the match, DL notched its first Mid-State Conference win of the season with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Panthers.

Half of those aces came from senior middle hitter Morgan Lof, who registered eight herself.

Five of those came during a key serving series by the senior Laker in game one.

Trailing 10-8 to the Panthers, Lof's searing serves set the tone for the entire match for the Lakers, with 10 straight points coming during her series -- five of those being aces.

"That's impressive," said DL head coach Beth Leighton of the team's 16 total aces. "They were serving aggressive and there was a combination of things working in our confidence and serving it to the right person."

By the time Lof was done serving, the Lakers were leading 18-11, as DL ran away with game one 25-17.

Game two was similar in that Park Rapids jumped to an early 6-3 lead, before DL rallied.

This time it was senior outside hitter Robin Hutchinson at the line, with DL down 8-6.

Two consecutive aces by Hutchinson tied the game, and a kill by Emily Lindquist gave the Lakers the lead -- one which they wouldn't relinquish the rest of the game.

Lof put a hard kill down the middle of the Panther defense to put an exclamation point on the series, for a 10-8 advantage.

The Lakers pulled in a 19-13 lead on a Brianna Posch block, which was extended to 20-13 on Maura Schumacher's ace.

From there, DL allowed just two more points to the Panthers for the 25-15 win.

Even a close loss in game three produced a furious rally from the Lakers, who came back from a 24-17 deficit to fall just short at 25-23.

The rally was led by server Lof once again, as Park Rapids had four unforced errors, while Lof gained another ace and Alycia Heisler a kill.

But Park Rapids survived after a long out of bounds hit by DL ended the game.

The momentum created in the comeback spurred the Lakers to a 6-1 lead in game four, as DL survived a PR rally to pull to within 14-12 later.

The turning point in the game came on a Hutchinson kill to cap a long back-and-forth series by both teams, as DL won 25-14.

A key to the Lakers' latest push, where they've won four matches out of their last six, is depth, Leighton said.

"This year, we have the depth where if I substitute a player in, we maintain the same level of play," she said. "They communicate out there well and our seniors are showing good leadership. Just look at tonight, both Hutchinson and Lof keyed the win from the serving line."

The Lakers (5-4) lost a 3-1 match to visiting Moorhead Monday after winning the first game 25-22, before dropping the next three by the scores of 25-13, 25-10 and 28-26.

Lof and Heisler paced the Lakers with 10 kills apiece, while senior setter Abby Hoganson had 14 assists.

"We started very well and controlled our side of the court, and kept a balanced intensity level," Leighton said of the Moorhead game. "Game two and three, (Moorhead) was able to establish some early runs in points on us, which impacted our aggressiveness, and we played a little safe."

The Lakers took part in the Hawley Tournament Saturday, and will next travel to Frazee Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Laker results

Park Rapids at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Sept. 11.

Lakers 3, Panthers 1

(25-17, 25-5, 23-25, 25-24)

DL stat leaders -- Digs: Dani Labine 7-13, Emily Lindquist 6-11...Kills: Robin Hutchinson 10, Alycia Heisler 8...Serving: Lindquist 8-8, 1 ace; Morgan Lof 23-25, 8 aces...Blocking: Hutchinson 1 solo, 3 assists; Lof 1 solo, 3 assists...Setting: Abby Hoganson 14 assists, Rachel Shane 10 assists.

Moorhead at Detroit Lakes, Monday, Sept. 8.

Spuds 3, Lakers 1

(22-25, 25-13, 25-10, 28-26)

DL stat leaders -- Kills: Lof 10, Heisler 10...Setting: Hoganson 14 assists; Shane 11...Serving: Lindquist 7-7; Labine 10-11, 2 aces...Digs: Labine 17-26.