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Falcons make first state tournament

MORRIS, Minn - Forgive the Moorhead Park Christian volleyball team if its players are at a loss of words when you bring up the title of champion. It's new to them. The Falcons used a momentum-turning win in Game 3 as a springboard to a 25-18, 15-...

MORRIS, Minn - Forgive the Moorhead Park Christian volleyball team if its players are at a loss of words when you bring up the title of champion.

It's new to them.

The Falcons used a momentum-turning win in Game 3 as a springboard to a 25-18, 15-25, 25-22, 25-15 victory over Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross in the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 championship.

"I don't even know," Park Christian senior Amanda Vangsnes said in response to the section championship. "This is beyond anything I can even explain."

The win gave Park Christian its first section title and trip to the state tournament in any sport.

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The school began varsity athletics in 1999. However, this is only the fifth season of varsity volleyball.

"We're ecstatic right now," Park Christian head coach Raina Askin said. "We couldn't be happier."

Park Christian faces Kittson Central at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Xcel Energy Center in the state tournament quarterfinals.

"Once they get the jitters out and put the nervousness aside, they can be amazing," Askin said of the upcoming state tournament.

Chokio's (20-10) strong defense gave the Falcons fits in Game 2, forcing 15 errors.

However, the tide turned Park Christian's way in Game 3.

"Volleyball is very much a game of momentum," Vangsnes said.

After nearly losing control to Chokio's strong defense for the second straight game, Park Christian regrouped just in time to break a 22-22 tie and get the Game 3 win.

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The Falcons carried the momentum into Game 4, breaking free from Chokio again to build a 19-10 lead.

"They battled back, they didn't give up," Askin said. "At this point, you shouldn't give up."

The face-painted and raucous Park Christian student section had the bleachers of the University of Minnesota Morris Regional Fitness Center bouncing as Vangsnes closed the book on the match with three of the Falcons' last five points in the deciding Game 4.

The 5-foot-9 outside hitter had a match-high 20 kills, including the match-winning spike, to lead the Falcons (20-7-1).

"This is something that every single student at our school has worked for," Askin said. "It's nice to get recognized."

PARK CHRISTIAN (kills-blocks-aces): Porter 7-2-0, Olson 3-0-3, Vangsness 20-0-1, Jordahl 4-0-1, Harmelink 4-0-0, Smithson 5-1-0, Nelson 0-0-0 (25 digs), Olsgaard 0-0-1 (23 assists), Markey 0-0-2 (11 assists).

CHOKIO: Dierks 13-15-1 (18 digs), Enquist 5-4-0, Haney 4-3-0, Wernsing 4-1-0, Zimmerman 3-1-0 (32 digs), Johnson 3-5-0, Lehman 0-0-1 (11 assists), Severence 0-0-0 (15 assists), Stotesbery 0-0-0, Howe 0-0-0, Krosch 0-0-0 (27 digs), Kontz 0-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dustin Monke at (701) 241-5504

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