Somerset volleyball sharp as Spartans begin conference seasonAs the start of the Middle Border Conference volleyball season arrives this Thursday, the Somerset Spartans are right where they want to be.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
As the start of the Middle Border Conference volleyball season arrives this Thursday, the Somerset Spartans are right where they want to be.
The Spartans played top-level competition in the Hudson Invitational on Saturday, capping a challenging pre-season. Coach Sarah Praschak said the team accomplished everything she was hoping for in the early-season matches.
“We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be,” Praschak said. “Now we need to be consistent and not go backward.”
The Spartans start their MBC schedule by facing two top contenders. The Spartans play at home this Thursday against Ellsworth. The Spartans will play at New Richmond next Tuesday.
In Saturday’s tournament at Hudson, the Spartans split with Menomonie, lost to a strong Superior squad and defeated Prescott and the Hudson junior varsity team.
The most promising part of Saturday’s performance was the Spartans’ improvement in their serve receive. By getting better passes off those serves, the Spartan offense was able to run much more effectively. The Spartan hitters looked sharp. Sarah Krig and Sarah Northey led the hitting attack, with 20 and 19 kills, respectively, during the tournament.
Praschak said senior setter Sami Martell is rapidly developing a feel for running the 6-1 attack where she is the team’s sole setter. The Spartan hitters were able to swing with confidence because Martell is getting more accurate with her sets in each match.
The timing between the setter and hitters was one of the key features for the Spartans in their home-court win against St. Croix Central last Thursday. The Spartans won the match 25-21, 25-21, 27-25.
Getting to play in front of a home crowd had the Spartans a bit jittery at first, but they quickly settled in. During the second game the Spartans really began to click. The team’s passing sharpened considerably. With more accurate passes, Martell was spot-on with her sets. She and Northey were nearly unstoppable in the second game.
The Spartans’ blocking was also a big factor in the win. Krig scored with five solo block kills, and Northey and Natalie Broome also put up some strong blocks in the victory.
One of the reasons for the improved passing is the effort from the libero position. Praschak said she has two girls who are fully capable of handling the defensive specialist role in Megan Starry and Rachel Helgeson, so she is having them alternate games in the role.