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Tiger volleyball learns at Hudson Invite

The Hudson Invitational proved to be a good learning tool for the New Richmond varsity volleyball team. The Tigers faced three top quality opponents in the tournament. While the Tigers weren't able to win any of their matches, the tournament did help the Tigers to solidify their lineup for the start of the Middle Border Conference season.

The MBC season opens this Thursday, when the Tigers will play at Somerset.

In the Hudson tournament the Tigers faced Boyceville, Durand and Hudson. Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht tried different lineups looking for a starting six who fit well together on the court.

"I felt by the last game at Hudson we had six girls we can go with in future matches," she said. "By then they looked like they were clicking."

The Tigers started the tournament by facing Boyceville, losing 25-18, 20-25, 15-10. Kelsie Abramson was the top server in that match, being on target with 13 of 14 tries and serving up four aces.

Bekah Sievert and Krista Mitchell combined for 13 kills to lead the Tigers' net attack. Sievert was involved in five blocks and Mitchell and Katie Parker took part in three successful blocks.

The Tigers then faced Durand, which is expected to be one of the top teams in the MBC this season. Durand beat the Tigers 25-18, 25-16.

Jena O'Flanagan was the Tigers' top server, with two aces and 13-14 serve accuracy. Sievert and Mitchell were the top hitters with six kills each.

The Tigers had trouble stopping Durand's hitting attack, where the Panthers were consistently able to hit the ball down the line successfully.

In the final round of the tournament the Tigers had their best chance to score a win. Facing Hudson, the Tigers won the opening game 25-17. They kept rolling at the start of the second game, going ahead 7-0. The Tigers then saw their serving go cold and Hudson was able to come back, winning 26-24, 15-10 in the final two games.

"We learned you've got to keep attacking. You can't sit on your lead in rally scoring," Ahlbrecht said.

Abramson, Parker and Kiris Brockmiller were each 10-10 serving in the Hudson match. Mitchell led the Tigers with eight kills and Parker had four kills in the match. Sievert led the team with four successful blocks.

In addition to Thursday's match at Somerset, the Tigers will also be playing in a tournament at Chisago Lakes on Saturday. That will be followed by a non-conference match at Menomonie next Tuesday.

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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