Bemidji volleyball shook off a sluggish start in the opening set to down Park Rapids 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-18) on the road Tuesday evening for its first victory of the season.
The Lumberjacks had not played since their season-opening, five-set loss at Alexandria on Aug. 25, and the opening stages of the match indicated a combination of rediscovering form and adjusting to muggy conditions inside the Park Rapids High School gymnasium. Early success often came through the hitting of Mollie Rupp, who helped power Bemidji into a slender lead.
Though serve receive and passing were substandard for the Jacks in the opening set, the visitors kept Park Rapids off balance with a series of aces from the likes of Adie Potratz, Sammy Nistler, and Rupp that helped gain much needed points while the attack found its footing.
Rupp continued to dominate in attack at the net, helping stem a small surge from the Panthers before crashing a kill cross court that reopened a lead for the Lumberjacks.
Beth Bolte capped the opening set victory by finding the corner of the floor on a sharp first kill of the evening.
The excellent offensive play of Rupp translated into defense as well, as she cycled up front to help put up a rejection in the second game.
Bemidji exploded from a narrow 12-11 advantage into a dominant 25-15 second set win with contributions across the floor, including both serving and hitting points courtesy of sophomore Jordan Pemberton.
Sensing a chance to sweep, the Lumberjacks roared out to a 12-2 lead to begin the third behind more crisp attacks and help from blocking provided by Elizabeth Oster.
Rupp and Bolte continued to pour in a variety of hits across the front line for the Lumberjacks, taking full advantage of Margie Anderson’s setting.
After just one prior match in their opening three and a half weeks of the season, Bemidji (1-1) will now settle into its regular season schedule with a trip to Thief River Falls on Thursday evening.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Alicia Kriens: