The Onamia Panthers varsity volleyball team had two Great River Conference matches on their schedule last week and ended up splitting the pair, losing a close encounter to a talented Pine City team and beating GRC lower-tier, Ogilvie.
Although the volley match between the Pine City Dragons and the Onamia Panthers was to be played early this season, a lot was at stake, and both teams knew it as they took court in Onamia’s gym on Sept. 10.
Because the only match scheduled between the two schools was worth two points in the Great River Conference standings, the winner would take a bold step toward winning the GRC title.
When the dust settled, with Onamia losing a heart-breaker, 3-2, it was quite obvious those in attendance were watching two of the best teams in the league.
Onamia fell behind, 17-7, in game one but pulled to a 19-19 tie on kills by Krissy Dahl and aces off the serve of MaKayla Balder. The Panthers took a 24-23 lead with the lead changing five times during the final seven points before Pine City finely won by the closest of margins, 26-24.
The Panthers came on strong in set two, building a 17-1 lead off the mighty serving of Ashley Strang, who served the first seven points, and Balder, who produced 10 points off her serve, including four aces in a row, leading Onamia to a 25-15 win.
Pine City showcased power kills in set three to win easily, 25-18, but Onamia came back to square the match, winning set four and sending the event into the deciding game.
Onamia jumped out to an 8-4 lead in set five before Pine City put the game away scoring eight straight points off the serve of Meredith Kolling.
Onamia finished the match with 53 kills compared to 38 by Pine City.
Onamia was led on offense by 14 kills from Lily Orazem, 12 by MaKayla Balder, 11 from Krissy Dahl and 10 by Kailee Barnett.
The Panthers also produced 14 aces, compared to 12 by Dragon servers.
PC 26 15 25 19 15
Onamia 24 25 18 25 12
The Onamia Panthers volleyball team took little time to dispose of the Ogilvie Lions on Sept. 12, beating them in three straight sets.
Lily Orazem, Kailee Barnett, Krissy Dahl and MaKayla Balder combined for 26 kills in a rout.
Balder recorded nine aces at the service line, and she led the team in set assists with 18, followed by Ashley Rogers with nine.
Onamia 25 25 25
Ogilvie 20 11 12