Somerset volleyball team starts Middle Border Conference play with key winWhen Prescott’s best hitter went down with an ankle injury, the Somerset volleyball team took full advantage of the opportunity on Thursday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
When Prescott’s best hitter went down with an ankle injury, the Somerset volleyball team took full advantage of the opportunity on Thursday.
Somerset rolled to a 25-11, 25-16, 19-25, 25-13 win in a match between two teams considered among the pre-season favorites in the Middle Border Conference volleyball race. This was the first conference match for both teams.
The match hinged on the injury to Prescott’s leading hitter, senior Mary Kate Pryor. Prescott was leading 16-12 in the first game when Pryor tumbled to the floor with an ankle injury. Somerset coach Sarah Praschak said she thought her team would have won even if Pryor had played the full match, but the injury allowed the Spartans to dominate play at the net.
Leading that effort was senior middle hitter Ellie Vanasse. She mixed in powerful shots with shots at a variety of angles. The Prescott defense had no idea where her hits were going.
“Ellie was phenomenal,” Praschak said. “She moved the ball around and maybe got blocked two times all night.”
Vanasse finished with a lofty 20 hit kills for the night. She also was involved in 15 blocks.
Bridget Kieckhoefer and Sarah Northey each supplied 10 kills.
This was a match where all five of the Spartan seniors stood out. Kieckhoefer had a strong all-around game, but her serving was of unmatched excellence. She served 27 times in the match and put all 27 in play, including five ace serves. Senior Anna Marson was on target with all 19 of her serves and she led the team with 15 assists.
The two other seniors, Laura Wells and Lauren Rathai, put in another strong night as the Spartans’ primary defensive players. They combined to receive 27 Prescott serves and finished with 15 digs.
Praschak said she was also pleased with the progress being made by junior defensive specialist Markell Penman, who has also developed into a reliable server for the team.
While the Spartans played well, Praschak said there are still areas where the team can do better. The main one is consistency. After building a 23-10 lead in the second game, the Spartans’ play dropped off markedly and that carried into their third game loss.
The Spartans return to their home court this Thursday for their always entertaining rivalry match with New Richmond. On Saturday the Spartans will play in a tournament at Eau Claire North and next Tuesday the Spartans play a conference match in Amery.