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Big comeback marks first win in new LP-A gym

The Lake Park-Audubon volleyball team gears up for the new high school building's first-ever athletic contest Tuesday evening. Photo by - Brian Basham1 / 3
Cheyanne Nelson makes the play on the serve/receive Tuesday evening. Photo by - Brian Basham2 / 3
LP-A's Emma Ulmer celebrates a point during the Raiders' comeback victory over Climax/Fisher. Photo by - Brian Basham3 / 3

Even down two games, it just wasn't going to happen.

The Lake Park-Audubon volleyball team willed themselves to a comeback victory to christen the new Raider gym, by storming back from a 2-0 deficit to send visiting Climax/Fisher back home with a 3-2 loss Tuesday.

LP-A won the final three games by the scores of 25-8, 25-18 and 15-11.

It wasn't just losing at home which would have bothered the Raider team, but losing on the brand new court in the building's first athletic contest just was not an option.

"This was our first game ever in here and after falling down two games, we just needed to pick it up," said senior outside hitter Emily Sunram, who keyed a game four 25-18 win with three consecutive kills. "There was more nervous energy in the first two games for us, but we were able to settle down."

The Knights (5-13-2) stormed out of the gates in games one and two, taking both by the scores of 25-23 and 25-17.

The first game went down to the wire, as C/F broke a 23-23 tie on a kill down the middle by senior outside hitter Claire Carlson, followed by an LP-A unforced error.

The Knights controlled game two for the majority of the time, as they built a 20-13 advantage to eventually claim the 25-17 win.

But after that, the winds of victory started blowing for the Raiders, who turned that nervous energy into points, as they bolted off to a 12-3 lead in game three, en route to a convincing 25-8 win.

"The intensity level just rose for us in game three and we were passing and setting better, which led to more kills," said junior outside hitter Bailee Bartunek, who led all hitters with 16 kills. "We just started to click."

The momentum wave of game three led into a game four, where the Raiders built another sizable lead 11-2.

The Knights didn't really make a threat to go ahead and eventually fell 25-18, leading into the decisive game five match.

"I guess we have something for playing five games," said LP-A head coach Mike Summers. "The girls made the commitment to not lost the first game played in this gym. We were not playing to our full potential in the first two games."

Again, a fast start in game five came in the form of a 7-4 lead, led by some strong kills at the front net by Bartunek, junior middle Becca Schermer and senior right hitter Emma Ulmer.

The trio, which was being fed by Ulmer (13 assists) and junior setter Rilee Burnside (19 assists) controlled the game and finished off the Knights 15-11.

"We controlled our unforced errors much better in the final three games and our blocking came around," Summers said.

The win also keeps the Raiders (10-12) on pace to reach .500, with two games remaining against Waubun (0-16) Thursday and Bagley (1-15) Tuesday, Oct. 16.

"It feels good winning our first game in here," Bartunek said. "Now we need to keep building that momentum."

Raider results

Climax/Fisher at Lake Park-Audubon, Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Raiders 3, Knights 2

(23-25, 17-25, 25-8, 25-18, 15-11)

LP-A stat leaders -- Aces: Emily Sunram 4, Cheyanne Nelson 2, Taylor Todd 2...Kills: Bailee Bartunek 19, Carissa Raaen 8, Sunram 6...Blocks: Bartunek 3, Breann Hogie 2, Ulmer 2...Assists: Rilee Burnside 19, Ulmer 13...Digs: Bartunek 22, Nelson 23, Sunram 14.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.