New Richmond volleyball team shows glimpes of good thingsIn their home quad meet last Tuesday, a home match against Menomonie last Thursday and a tournament in Coon Rapids on Saturday, the New Richmond volleyball team had stretches where they played at a high level.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
In their home quad meet last Tuesday, a home match against Menomonie last Thursday and a tournament in Coon Rapids on Saturday, the New Richmond volleyball team had stretches where they played at a high level.
The task for the young Tigers is to build those glimpses into complete games and get rid of the mini-meltdowns that cost them more chances at wins.
In last Tuesday’s quad against Middle Border Conference opponents Ellsworth, Durand and Prescott, the Tigers won five of the nine games they played. They swept three games from Durand and won one of three from Ellsworth and Prescott.
The match against Prescott showed the Tigers’ possibilities. Prescott returns some of the top talent in the MBC this season. Prescott took the first game 25-16. The Tigers put together an impressive charge in the middle of the second game to hold a 20-18 lead. They couldn’t hold the lead. Nerves got the better of the Tigers as Prescott came back for a 25-21 win. The Tigers did win the third game 15-10.
Durand was next and the Tigers seemed to get more comfortable when holding the lead. The swept the Panthers 25-16, 25-21, 15-7.
In the third round, Ellsworth won the opening two games 25-18, 25-17, before the Tigers took the finale, 19-17.
“Throughout the whole quad, our lack of experience showed a little,” said Tiger coach Bob Fisher.
Fisher said the Tigers face a two-sided question this year. The first side is “how good can they get this year?” but the second side is “how soon can they get there?”
In Thursday’s match the Tigers lost to Menomonie 25-22, 25-22, 25-17. This was an extremely close battle until the final points of the third game, when Menomonie began to pull away.
“We played a much cleaner, smooth game,” Fisher said, “with more flow to our game.”
In Saturday’s tournament in Coon Rapids, the Tigers had the misfortune of drawing eventual tournament champion Maple Lake in the opening round. The Tigers lost that match 25-19, 25-9.
In the second round, the Tigers drew DeLaSalle. All of the Tigers’ opponents in the tournament were Minnesota schools. The Tigers were able to defeat DeLaSalle. After losing the first game 25-23, the Tigers came back to win 25-19, 15-12.
Fisher said DeLaSalle forced the Tigers to play a disciplined style. Once the Tigers figured that out, they were able to control the action.
The third opponent for the Tigers was Mahtomedi. The Tigers lost the opening game 25-22. They built a big lead in the second game, then held off a late Mahtomedi charge to win 25-23. Mahtomedi came back to take the third game 15-7.
That put the Tigers in the 11th place match against Deer River. Passing troubles that started in the third game against Mahtomedi carried over into this match, causing the Tigers to lose 25-13, 25-20.
Fisher said he saw a number of areas where the team improved during the week. He said the blocking, led by sophomore Emily Kukacka, gave opponents problems. He said setters Alecia Brugler and Cassie Martie did their best work of the week against Menomonie. He said the hitting and serving need more consistency and passing remains the biggest area needing improvement for the team.
“Once the ball control improves, I think we’ll see some good stuff,” Fisher said.
The Tigers begin their conference schedule this Thursday with a match at Durand. The action continues on Saturday when the Tigers play in a tournament in Grantsburg. The Tigers will be back on their home court next Tuesday, in a match against Prescott.