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Panthers take pair of wins at Ellsworth

St. Croix Central's volleyball team turned up its intensity in a triangular meet at Ellsworth last Tuesday.

The result? A pair of wins for the Panthers, against Luck and Ellsworth.

The Panthers started the meet by facing Luck. With a productive net attack and steady passing, the Panthers were able to score a 25-23, 25-20 win over the Cardinals.

In the next round the Panthers faced Ellsworth. The Panthers scored a win over their Middle Border Conference opponent, 25-20, 16-25, 15-12.

Central coach Amanda Webb said the Panthers got a little tired in the second game against Ellsworth, but were able to play refreshed ball to win the third game 15-12.

Serving was a considerable weapon for the Panthers, especially against Luck. The Panthers were on target with 41 of their 43 serves against Luck and 12 of them went for aces. Their serving lagged a bit against Ellsworth, especially in the second game. They finished that match 50-57 serving with four aces.

With the serving and passing both working smoothly, the Panthers turned up the intensity in the other parts of the game. They registered more kills by hitting with a more attacking style. They also weren't afraid to go after their opponent's best hits. The Panthers dug up several tough hits to keep points alive.

"My kids really hustled," Webb said. "We're being more aggressive and that made a very big difference."

Webb said that Casey Kooiman stepped up to lead the Panther hitters that night. She said sophomore Jessica Hazer led the defensive play.

"She really had a sense of where she was supposed to be on the court," Webb said.

The Panthers complete their busiest week of the season with more volleyball action this Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday the Panthers head south to play at Plum City in a Dunn-St. Croix Conference match. On Saturday the Panthers will travel in the opposite direction, heading up the border to play in a tournament at Grantsburg.

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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