Grueling weekend earns Somerset volleyball team a breakAfter playing 27 games in three days to start their season, the Somerset volleyball girls earned a break.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
After playing 27 games in three days to start their season, the Somerset volleyball girls earned a break.
The Spartans opened their season last Thursday playing in a quad match in River Falls. The Spartans arose early each of the next two mornings to play full days of volleyball in a tournament at UW-Stout in Menomonie.
The Spartans placed 10th among the 27 teams. They won once in three dual matches at River Falls.
The River Falls quad was a good way for the Spartans to start the season. With several new girls on the team they were a bit unsteady in losing two of three games to River Falls in the opening round and losing twice in three games to Spring Valley.
The Spartans appeared to turn a corner in the third round of the tournament, sweeping three games from New Richmond. The Tigers had beaten Spring Valley and River Falls in their first two matches.
Spartan coach Sarah Praschak said it might take the team a bit of time to come together because so many girls are specializing in one area. The only two girls currently playing all-around are senior Anna Marson and junior Sarah Northey. Praschak said sophomore Sami Martell could eventually become an all-around player. Marson and Martell are the Spartans’ setters this season.
After the late evening in River Falls, the Spartans took to the road the next morning en route to Menomonie. The Spartans weren’t at their sharpest at the start of the day, but got better steadily through their matches. They played five matches, including wins over Colfax and Cadott. Their losses came against Eau Claire Memorial, Oshkosh West and Medford.
An even earlier start came Saturday. The Spartans lost their matches against Barron, Stoughton and Onalaska, putting them in 10th place overall.
You might think the three losses would have bothered the coaches. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
“We played phenomenal, I was so pleased,” Praschak said.
The Spartans had to make adjustments to their lineup both days. Northey was out sick on Friday and Bridget Kieckhoefer and Markell Penman both missed parts of Saturday’s action due to injuries.
“Lots of kids got lots of playing time,” Praschak said. “My bench got stronger in each match.”
With both of the team’s leftside hitters missing time during the tournament, Martell and Natalie Broome were given the chance to prove themselves there. Praschak said she was quite pleased with their efforts.
Senior Laura Wells made a big impression on the coaches with her play as the libero during the tournament.
“She’s really getting a feel for the court and for reading hitters,” Praschak said.
Praschak said the biggest thing the Spartans need to improve is handling the pressure late in games. She said the Spartans were in a good position in several games, but a few errors late in the games caused several possible wins to get away.
Because of the intense three days, the coaches gave the Spartans two days off from practice. They have that luxury because the team doesn’t play again until Thursday, Sept. 8, when the Spartans play at St. Croix Central.