St. Croix Central volleyball team ‘too nice,’ coach wants more aggressive playSt. Croix Central coach Kerrie Been insists that the 2011 Panther team is filled with one of the nicest groups of girls she’s ever coached.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
St. Croix Central coach Kerrie Been insists that the 2011 Panther team is filled with one of the nicest groups of girls she’s ever coached.
But once they get on the volleyball court, she’d like to see them be a little less nice.
The Panthers played in six matches last week, but were able to win just one of the six matches. They lost their first two Dunn-St. Croix Conference matches of the season before winning one of their four matches in the Osceola Invitational on Saturday.
Last Tuesday the Panthers lost their conference opener against Elk Mound by scores of 25-15, 25-20 and 25-19. Been said the Panthers had “pockets of greatness” in the match, but need to be more consistent. She said passing and hitting remain issues. She said when the passes and sets are perfect, the Panthers can play evenly with any team. The team has struggled with its passing, throwing off the flow of the play from the start. And the hitters have struggled to make good hits on sets that are anything but perfect.
The Panthers haven’t lost their spirit. When they played at Elmwood on Thursday, Been said they had “some of the most enthusiasm I’ve ever seen.”
Neither team could deliver a knockout. Elmwood won the opening game 25-19. Central came back to win the next two games, 25-18 and 25-16. The Panthers couldn’t close out the win. Elmwood took the fourth game 25-19. The fifth game was fought hard right to the end, with Elmwood getting the 15-13 win.
Been said there were strong points to the Panthers’ performance at Elmwood.
“We had oodles of blocking. St. Croix Central has never had this kind of height,” Been said.
The height is mainly middle hitters Alyssa Melby and Madison Malecek. The front line got taller last week when Been moved sophomore Kayla Pabst into the starting rotation as a leftside hitter. Melby and Malecek combined for 15 of the Panthers’ 25 kills against Elmwood.
Been said she hoped the taller front line would help the Panthers be more aggressive at the net. She said she wanted stronger swings from her front line hitters, who were tipping the ball over the net far too much.
Serving was a stable asset for the Panthers in the match. Jenna Buckel was on target with all 22 of her serves in the match and Jessa Klinger scored with five ace serves. Klinger also led the team with seven digs.
The Panthers opened Saturday’s tournament by playing one of the stronger teams in the area, Barron. The Panthers led 16-14 in the first game, before Barron’s experience showed through. The Bears won in two games.
In the second round the Panthers put together two good games to decisively beat Unity.
In the third round the Panthers were beaten by Osceola.
At the end of pool play, the Panthers were matched up against Unity for the final match. This time Unity was able to beat the Panthers.