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Tigers again progress thru volleyball tournament

For the second straight tournament, the New Richmond volleyball team started slowly, then built up steam through the rest of the tournament.

Last Tuesday the Tigers played in a tournament in Hudson, facing Boyceville, Durand and Hudson in the meet. The Tigers came away with one win in their three tournament matches.

The Tigers were expecting to face Middle Border Conference rival Durand in the opening round of the tournament. But when they arrived in Hudson, the schedule had been changed, and they instead faced Boyceville in the opening round. Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht said she suspected that was the reason the Tigers played so flatly against Boyceville, losing 25-14, 25-14.

There wasn't an area of the game where the Tigers played well against Boyceville. Kelsie Abramson led the team with three kills. She was the only player with more than one kill.

The awaited match with Durand took place in the second round of the tournament. The Tigers put up a much better showing, losing to Durand 25-21, 25-18. In the second game the Tigers led 10-3.

"Then Durand came back with some pretty strong hits cross-court," said Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht.

Abramson led the Tigers with eight kills in this match and she also had four blocks. Junior Katie Parker played a strong all-around game, with five deflected blocks, three kills and two aces serves. Krista Mitchell supplied three kills and Sara Leahy had three deflected blocks. Setter Jena O'Flanagan had 14 assists. Shelley Peterson had five digs in the match.

"This was a much better game defensively and offensively and we served much better," Ahlbrecht said.

In the third round the Tigers played Hudson, who was playing like the Tigers had against Boyceville. The Tigers scored a 25-14, 23-25, 15-4 win over the Raiders.

In this match Ahlbrecht mixed the Tiger lineup to get a view of how different combinations worked together. She said the girls adapted well to having the different alignments on the court.

Among the players who got extended playing time in this match were Peterson at setter, Paige Vergin as a right-side hitter and Libby Jensen as a left-side hitter. Ahlbrecht said she saw good things from the players who got their chance in this match.

"Shelley took some control on the court and Libby showed she's a pretty good server," Ahlbrecht said.

Parker put up the best numbers in this match, with five kills, five blocks and five digs. Jensen had four digs and Abramson had three kills.

This Thursday the Tigers will start their Middle Border Conference schedule. That schedule begins with a home match against Somerset on Thursday. Then on Saturday, the Tigers will play in a tournament at Chisago Lakes.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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