Somerset volleyball team bounces back from first Middle Border Conference lossThe Somerset volleyball team’s hopes of a Middle Border Conference championship took a big hit by losing to Ellsworth last week.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Somerset volleyball team’s hopes of a Middle Border Conference championship took a big hit by losing to Ellsworth last week.
This Thursday, the Spartans have a chance to get back into a share for the MBC lead. The Spartans will play at Baldwin-Woodville. The Blackhawks are the surprise team of the MBC thus far, winning their first four conference matches. Somerset started this week with a 2-1 conference record.
Somerset will play its third and final home match of the season next Tuesday, against Durand.
The Spartans split their conference matches last week. The loss at Ellsworth was a crusher. The Spartans won the first and third games by 25-21 scores. Ellsworth took Game 2 25-22 and Game 4 25-16.
It appeared the Spartans were in good shape when they built a 13-9 lead in Game 5. Then the Spartans missed a serve and they couldn’t get the serve back. Ellsworth served up the final five points to win 15-13.
The Spartans had to play with an improvised lineup at Ellsworth. Middle hitter Natalie Broome dislocated her thumb late in practice the night before the match. The Spartans had to move Sarah Northey to middle hitter and have Markell Penman move into her role as an outside hitter.
Serving proved to be one of the major differences in this match. Ellsworth attacked specific areas on the court. That led to 29 serve receive errors by the Spartans. The Spartans missed eight serves that came at critical junctures.
Where the Spartans were at their best was at the net. Ellie Vanasse scored with 24 kills. Bridget Kieckhoefer added 15 and Anna Marson scored with 10.
The Spartans got back to winning last Thursday, rolling past New Richmond. The Spartans won the opening games 25-17, 25-8. The Spartans then had a letdown in Game 3, losing 25-19. They finished off the win with a 25-7 wipeout in Game 4.
New Richmond didn’t give the Spartans a big challenge at the net, so the Spartans dominated the match with their serving. Marson led the team with 20 serves and Markell Penman contributed 19. Sami Martell delivered 12 good serves, including two aces.
Eau Claire North
The Spartans took part in an arduous tournament at Eau Claire North on Saturday. They played in five matches, winning two of the five. They scored wins over Thorp and Cadott, but lost to Eau Claire North, Hayward and Osceola.
The Spartans are generally slow starters in Saturday morning tournaments, but that changed in this tournament. They opened with a 25-16, 25-11, 15-11 win over Thorp.
After a break, the Spartans played Eau Claire North. The Spartans’ saved their Saturday lull for the opening game, losing 25-4. They bounced back to put up two sharp games against the Huskies, losing 25-21 and winning the third game 15-12.
The active play continued into the third round. Hayward beat the Spartans 25-17, 27-26, but the Spartans nabbed the third game 15-13.
In the fourth round of the tournament the Spartans earned a win against Cadott, 23-25, 25-19, 15-6.
In the final round, the Spartans faced Middle Border Conference rival Osceola. Because they play their MBC dual meet on Oct. 11, neither team was ready to disclose much of their playing style. Osceola won 25-21, 25-14.
“We didn’t show them anything and they didn’t show us anything,” Praschak said.
Ellie Vanasse had a strong day, totaling 28 kills in the matches for the Spartans. While the tournament was a long day for everyone involved, it was particularly long for Spartan setters Marson and Martell. Neither left the court during any of the five matches.