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Somerset beat GC in dual; top SV in tourney

The first dual meet of the season served its purpose in several ways for the Somerset volleyball team. All those purposes added up to the ultimate purpose: a win. The Spartans won their match at Glenwood City in five games: 15-25, 25-16, 25-21, 23-25 and 15-9.

The match served the purpose of getting the Spartans some experience at playing under pressure. The most pressure was in the fifth game, when Glenwood City took an early lead.

"The girls did stay tough. They should have won the fourth game and they knew it. They bounced back and got it done," said Spartan coach Sara Eichten.

The Spartans did a number of things well during the match. They put up 19 ace serves, led by six from Roxy Martin and five from Staci Johanneck. Martin was also 20-20 serving for the night. The team served at an 88 percent accuracy rate.

The hitting done by the Spartans was quite impressive too. They finished with a .294 hitting average. Senior Julie Markfort put up a .524 hitting score.

"She was great," Eichten said.

Eichten said that freshman Megan Plourde also had a couple impressive hits during the match.

This match saw scrappy defense played on both sides of the net. The Spartans were led in digs by Martin with 16 and Kendra Steinlicht, the team's defensive specialist, with 15.

In the end, the match came down to one area.

"It was a battle of serve receiving," Eichten said. "Whoever could pass the ball was going to win."

The Spartans had a good stretch of passing in the fifth game, which helped them pull ahead for the win.

SCC tournament

Last Tuesday the Spartans played in the St. Croix Central tournament, winning one of their three matches. The Spartans actually finished 4-4 in games played.

The best single game of the night for the Spartans might have been their first, beating St. Croix Falls 25-21.

"We were flawless," Eichten said.

St. Croix Falls then came back to win the final two games 25-13, 15-5. The Spartans served at a 91 percent success rate in that match, but their hitting lacked consistency.

The inconsistent hitting continued in the next round, when the Spartans lost to St. Croix Central, again in three games. Central won the opening game 25-21, but the Spartans seemed to catch fire in the second game, winning 25-13. In the third game the Spartans had trouble returning serves and lost 15-5.

After struggling with passing at times, the Spartans had no troubles against Spring Valley.

"Our passing was flawless, we didn't have one passing error," Eichten said of the 25-19, 25-19 win over Spring Valley. Four days earlier, Spring Valley had beaten the Spartans in two games.

The Spartans didn't serve strongly in this match, but they hit the ball well, with Martin and Erin Dodor having the most success among the hitters.

This season the Spartans have a wealth of hitters. It's a great luxury to have, but it is also a challenge to get them each enough hitting opportunities to keep them all sharp.

Setter Ashley Riedesel "works real hard at trying to mix it up," Eichten said.

This will be a week where the Spartans renew a bunch of rivalries. On Thursday the Spartans start their Middle Border Conference season, with a home match against New Richmond. Then on Saturday the Spartans will be playing in the Osceola Invitational. The third rivalry match of the week will be played next Monday, when the Spartans will get a visit from St. Croix Central's squad.

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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