New Richmond volleyball team earns first Middle Border Conference winIn its best chance to record a Middle Border Conference win this season, the New Richmond volleyball team rose to the challenge last Thursday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
In its best chance to record a Middle Border Conference win this season, the New Richmond volleyball team rose to the challenge last Thursday.
The Tigers faced Amery, with both teams looking for their first conference win. The Tigers played one of their most complete matches while beating Amery in four games. New Richmond won the first game 25-17. Amery came back to capture the second game 25-18. New Richmond then made its charge, winning the next two games 25-17 and 25-23.
Tiger coach Bob Fisher said he saw improvement in every aspect of the game during the win. Britney Ellspermann led the hitting attack, with Bekah Heitzler and Brooke Ver Bunker also stepping up their contributions at the net. Amery had a number of nice digs in the third and fourth games, but the Tigers kept taking full swings and eventually got the points.
“That’s what we need to do, keep swinging until the other team cracks,” Fisher said.
Back row play has been one of the most inconsistent areas for the Tigers this season. In this match it was one of their best. Maggie Dalton, Tiffany Olek and Serena Shilts led the back row play. Between passing and serve returns, Dalton handled 36 chances in the match. She had eight chances in the final game and handled them all flawlessly.
The Tigers were able to use strong serving to keep Amery on the defensive. Dalton, Alicia Brugler and Caelin Giese were the leading servers in the match.
Fisher said this match was another indication that the Tigers are making progress. Even though the Tigers lost last Tuesday against Ellsworth, their performance was a big step up from the previous week.
Ellsworth won the match 25-13, 21-25, 25-10, 25-18. The second game win against one of the conference co-leaders showed the potential the Tigers possess. The Tigers put together a strong game at the net, getting several block kills. They also had potent serving, led by Cassie Martie and Maddie Krumm.
Fisher said the next step for the team is to be able to play at that level throughout entire matches, instead of bits and pieces.
On Saturday the Tigers hosted the first New Richmond Invitational, an event they hope will grow in future years. Seven teams played in this year’s tournament. Fisher said they hope to expand the tournament to 10 or 12 teams in the future.
The competition in the tournament was outstanding. Undefeated Grantsburg won the team championship, but there was plenty of other strong play from Chippewa Falls, Altoona, Baldwin-Woodville, Northwestern and Clayton.
The Tigers didn’t win any of their matches but they did win one game each from Clayton, Northwestern and Baldwin-Woodville.
The Tigers played their best against some of the top opponents, but they also had some letdowns. Serve return breakdowns led to quick losses against Chippewa Falls and Altoona.
“We just got served right off the court,” Fisher said.
The tournament also showed that the Tiger hitters have areas where they need to grow. There were many times when they received a set that wasn’t perfect, but still was easily hittable. Instead of taking full swings, the hitters softly sent the ball over the net, wasting a chance to be on the attack. Fisher said the hitters need to be able to put good swings on sets that aren’t perfect.
The Tigers now have a week between matches. They don’t play again until next Tuesday when they host Baldwin-Woodville. The Tigers then turn their focus to the WIAA Division 2 tournaments. Regional tournament play begins on Tuesday, Oct. 18.