St. Croix Central volleyball needs to become game finishersIf volleyball games were played to 20 points instead of 25, the St. Croix Central volleyball team would have a drastically different record this season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
If volleyball games were played to 20 points instead of 25, the St. Croix Central volleyball team would have a drastically different record this season.
After close losses to Baldwin-Woodville and Somerset last week, the Panthers’ hold a record of 1-8. In many of those games, the Panthers led deep into the contest. Nerves seem to get the better of the young Panthers in the final stretch of those games, opening the door for opponents to pull off comebacks.
That was the case in both of the Panthers’ losses last week. Against Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday the Panthers suffered a 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 loss. On Thursday the Panthers fell to Somerset 25-22, 25-19, 25-13.
“The girls are contending with every team we’ve played so far,” said Central coach Kerrie Been.
In the first game against Somerset the Panthers put together an impressive surge in the middle of the game to hold a 20-18 lead. But several unforced errors, including three missed serves, weighed down the Panthers in the end.
The one aspect where the Panthers still need the most improvement is passing.
“When we have a good pass we can get great hits,” Been said. “In our passing we’ve got to get more consistency.”
The passing issues have caused the Panthers’ attack to be limited. In the three games against Baldwin-Woodville, the Panthers had a total of eight kills. Most teams are hoping to get that many kills in one game.
The one aspect that kept the Panthers going against Baldwin-Woodville was their serving. They totaled four missed serves in the three games. Laura DeSmith was the most effective of the servers, being on target with all 15 of her attempts.
Blocking is another area that is leading to success for the Panthers. Led by middle hitters Alyssa Melby and Madison Malecek, the Panthers have been able to slow down opposing hits with their blocking. Been said Malecek, a freshman, has been getting guidance from Melby and Melanne Hill on how to block at the varsity level.
“She’s improving so much now and she’s learning so much from Alyssa and Melanne,” Been said.
The Panthers begin their Dunn-St. Croix Conference schedule this week. It is quite likely that no other D-SC team has played a pre-season schedule with the difficulty of the Panthers’ schedule. The Panthers played seven of the eight Middle Border Conference teams in the pre-season (New Richmond, Somerset, Baldwin-Woodville, Amery, Ellsworth, Prescott and Osceola). The only MBC team they didn’t battle was Durand.
The Panthers will play in a D-SC match at Elmwood this Thursday. The Panthers will see more MBC teams this Saturday when they play in a tournament in Osceola. The Panthers play at home next Tuesday, when Glenwood City’s girls visit.