New Richmond volleyball team can't get past PrescottThe New Richmond volleyball team was hoping to get past Prescott in its Middle Border Conference opening match last Thursday, but the Tigers couldn’t find a way to take control of the match.
The New Richmond volleyball team was hoping to get past Prescott in its Middle Border Conference opening match last Thursday, but the Tigers couldn’t find a way to take control of the match.
With the Tigers having trouble in their passing and their serving, they lost to Prescott 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.
The Tigers did play better on Saturday when they took part in the annual Grantsburg tournament. The Tigers won three of their four matches in that tournament.
A wave of illness has been taking its toll on the Tigers. For Thursday’s match at Prescott, the team was without defensive specialist Sarena Shilts, who Coach Bob Fisher considers the best passer on the team. Shilts’ absence caused a trickle down cascade of issues, according to Fisher. The Tigers had to change their lineup and they weren’t able to get into a sharp rhythm for much of the match.
Out of the loss at Prescott, the coaches did find the final pieces to the lineup they plan to move forward with for the foreseeable future. Fisher said the lineup will have Kate Johnston and Leah Blader as the setters, Shilts as the libero, Emily Kukacka and Caelin Giese as the middle hitters, Britney Ellspermann and Alecia Brugler as the leftside hitters and Tiffany Olek and Maddie Krumm as defensive specialists. Cassie Martie will be a serving specialist who will also see time in the back row.
“We should have some good passing with Serena, Maddie, Cassie and Tiffany in the back row,” Fisher said.
Brugler stepped up to win the leftside hitter role that was one of the open positions on the team.
“Alecia has really stepped up,” Fisher said. “For playing very little left before, she’s been a real surprise.”
In Saturday’s tournament the Tigers were able to score wins over Frederic, Webster and Plum City. Their only loss was to Grantsburg, which has been one of the top programs in the western side of the state for decades.
Fisher said he felt the Tigers could have been competitive if the passing had been sharper. Grantsburg’s powerful serving was able to reel off strings of 6-8 points at a time.
With the new lineup in place, the Tigers are working on getting their timing sharpened. With two sophomore setters, they are adjusting to the middle hitters. With Kukacka’s long reach and Giese’s leaping ability, the setters have to get them the ball at a height where they can propel themselves up and get maximum power into their hits.
The Tigers are hoping they can start putting together a streak of wins in conference play. They have two road matches scheduled in the upcoming days, playing at Ellsworth on Thursday and at Amery next Tuesday.