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Lakers open season with win over D-G-F

Senior Shay Nielsen had a big night in all phases of offense and defense in DL's victory over D-G-F. Photos by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

DETROIT LAKES — The Laker volleyball team got their season off on a different note compared to the last four seasons with a season-opening victory. Detroit Lakes defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 3-1 (25-22, 13-25, 25-17, 25-17) in non-conference action Tuesday evening.

Winning the opening game was a first in five seasons for head coach Jim Wood.

“This is kind of nice,” said Wood. “Our ball control was really good. We have struggled with that in our two scrimmages and it just hasn’t been pretty. It’s been ugly. They came out tonight and did way better than we’ve done so far, at all, even in practice. So, maybe we’re game players.”

“We’ve had a really good two weeks and I think we just wanted to prove people wrong,” Senior Outside Hitter Shay Nielsen said. “We’ve been known for kind of breaking down our first couple games. It was fun to come out and play like we wanted to play.”

DL was led by Nielsen who recorded 15 kills, many of which were booming shots at important times of the match. The DL senior played strong in the back row with eight digs, as well.

Kyra Vagle had seven kills; Frankie Hutchinson and Alyssa Austin played solid at the net each recording five kills each. Austin added a team-high six blocks.

Libero Sophie Wood led the team in digs with a dozen; Allison Berg added 11 to go with two aces and Vagle had nine digs.

DL scored the first three points of the match and built a 10-3 lead on Nielsen’s second kill of the game. While Shay starred Tuesday evening, defenses will rotate to try to take her out of the attack. D-G-F simply did not have an answer Tuesday night.

“We have a really strong offense this year, so hopefully, we’ll all get our chance,” Nielsen said.

“Looks like she’s going to hurt someone, doesn’t it?” said Wood. “She’s knocked a couple people on their butts and I think it’s going to happen a lot this year.”

D-G-F battled back to tie scores at 20 and 21 before DL took control behind consistent serving by Sarah Halbakken, including an ace down the line to put the Lakers at set point 24-21.

Austin put set one away with a kill after D-G-F stayed alive with a huge block for a 25-22 win.

“I think it’s really important for our self-confidence because we are young, so right now I think we need wins and confidence and it helps us play better,” said Nielsen.

The Rebels controlled set two winning by a dozen points, but the Lakers answered with matching 25-17 victories in sets three and four controlling tempo and moving the ball around consistently on attack.

“We’re struggling on a few things," Wood said. ”We’ve got some attacking issues with some middle hitters and outside hitters. We’ve got to turn it up a notch.”

The Lakers will play their next game on the road at Bemidji Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Laker results:

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Aug. 26.

DL 3, D-G-F 1 (25-22, 13-25, 25-17, 25-17)

Aces: Allison Berg 2, Katie Larson 1, Sarah Halbakken 1, Shay Nielsen 1, Sophie Wood 1.

Kills: Nielsen 15, Vagle 7, Hutchinson 5, Austin 5, Halbakken 3, Berg 3, Larson 1.

Blocks: Austin 6

Digs: Wood 12, Berg 11, Vagle 9, Nielsen 8, Larson 4.

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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