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Tiger volleyball team scores first win of 2004

The New Richmond volleyball team scored its first victory of the 2004 season last Tuesday, winning one of its three matches in the River Falls Invitational.

The Tigers opened the tournament against a fearsome Eau Claire Regis team, losing 25-16, 25-13. That was followed by a 25-22, 25-16 loss to Spring Valley, which is expected to be one of the top teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.

In the final match of the night the Tigers faced River Falls. Showing the progress they'd made through the night, the Tigers were able to score a 25-18, 23-25, 25-16 win over the Wildcats.

The win was the first for new Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht at the varsity level. She said the win was a result of how the Tigers improved during the day's action. She said the team's communication on the court improved steadily during the tournament.

"This team is coming together at a rate that is efficient for them," Ahlbrecht said. "They know it's a team effort and they're working to come together."

Junior Krista Mitchell played well against River Falls. She finished the match with eight kills, four digs and was 11-11 serving, with one ace. Jena O'Flanagan scored with three ace serves and was 9-10 from the service line. She also had eight assists as the Tiger setter.

Bekah Sievert came through with five kills and had three solo blocks and three assisted blocks in the win. Paige Vergin was 6-6 serving with two aces. Amber Rickard gave the team a spark off the bench, with 3-3 serving, including an ace.

The Tigers got revved up playing against Spring Valley, resulting in an entertaining, high intensity match. Sievert led the Tigers with five kills. Katie Parker had three solo blocks. Mitchell had two kills and one ace and O'Flanagan had six assists.

In the match against Eau Claire Regis the Tigers had to adjust quickly against a team with a big hitting arsenal.

"It was a little bit of a wakeup call," Ahlbrecht said. "The girls knew they had to anticipate where their hitters were going. I was pleased with the effort and the hustle."

The Tigers now have a bit of a break in their schedule. They don't play again until Thursday, Sept. 9, when they play at Somerset to start the Middle Border Conference season.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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