St. Croix Central volleyball team shares in Homecoming joyThe first Dunn-St. Croix Conference win of the season for the St. Croix Central volleyball team came in front of a large Homecoming crowd last Tuesday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The first Dunn-St. Croix Conference win of the season for the St. Croix Central volleyball team came in front of a large Homecoming crowd last Tuesday.
The Panthers lost the opening game, then strung together three sharp games in a row to beat Glenwood City. The Hilltoppers won the opening game 25-23. From there it was all Central, with the Panthers winning 25-20, 25-18 and 25-17.
Central coach Kerrie Been said the victory stemmed from the Panthers’ improved passing. By getting their passes to the net consistently, the Panthers were able to score with 27 attack kills, one of their highest totals of the season. Senior middle hitter Alyssa Melby led the team with 10 kills. The Panthers also got strong play at the net from Alayna Bodelson, Madison Malecek and Kayla Pabst.
“It was good to see Kayla take some full swings. When she connects, she really hits the ball hard,” Been said.
The improved passing came from a number of sources. Jenna Buckel, Kinzi McNamara, Kalli Armagost and Bodelson each handled at least a dozen of Glenwood City’s serves during the match.
Been said she views each serve return as a “freebie” because the defense gets a chance to set their feet and get a good look at the serve headed their way.
The Panthers weren’t the most accurate servers that night, missing 10 serves in the four games. They did have some smoke behind their serves. They scored nine aces, led by four from Laura DeSmith.
The Panthers weren’t able to carry the momentum from Tuesday’s win into their match Thursday at Mondovi. The Panthers lost the match 25-20, 25-16, 25-18.
Been said Mondovi’s gym has a low ceiling that had an effect on the game. The Panthers had several balls hit the ceiling, while Mondovi’s attack is streamlined to adjust for the low overhang. Mondovi tries to keep their passes and sets low. The Lady Buffs run a number of combinations off those quick sets, leaving defenses little time to adjust. The Panthers did a good job timing those hits, getting blocks on 25 of them. Melby led that effort with eight successful blocks.
The Panthers served better at Mondovi, with four off target serves in the three games. DeSmith and McNamara combined to put 28 serves in play, without an error.
Central continues its conference schedule this Thursday with a match at Plum City. Next Tuesday the Panthers will play at Spring Valley.