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Spartans put up strong front for 2005 season

Winning four of their five matches in the Spring Valley Invitational on Saturday gave an indication of the firepower the Somerset volleyball team brings into the 2005 season.

The Spartans scored wins over Boyceville, Clear Lake, Hudson and Colfax in the tournament, with their only loss coming against Spring Valley.

The first opponent of the day was Boyceville. The Spartans lost the opening game 26-24, but then came back to get the final two games 25-21 and 15-6. Next up was Clear Lake, where the Spartans won easily, 25-12, 25-17.

That win may have given the Spartans a false sense of security, because they were sluggish in a 25-14, 25-17 loss to Spring Valley. The Spartans responded well, with a strong 25-21, 25-6 win over Hudson. The second game was almost singlehandedly decided by Somerset senior Roxi Martin, who served the first 16 points of the game.

The Spartans finished off the tournament by taking two games from Colfax, with identical 25-18 scores.

Somerset is coached by Sara Eichten, now in her fourth year with the team. She was quite pleased with the play of the Spartans except for one aspect, their aggressiveness at the net.

"We really need to start killing the ball. With all the guns we have, we should be able to hit hard and we weren't," she said.

Eichten said she believes those big hits will come. Junior setter Mallory Rorabeck is at the middle of the Spartan attack.

"Mallory mixes it up very well. She's got a lot of choices and she knows that," Eichten said.

Sophomores Megan Plourde and Caleigh Hoiland led the Spartans' net play in the tournament. Eichten said another player who proved herself in this tournament was junior Lisa Borgstrom, who will rotate in as a defensive specialist, sharing the rotation with senior Staci Johanneck playing in the front row.

The Spartans are setting goals for each match to build toward their ambitious season goals. Eichten said this is a team capable of reaching their goals.

"I believe we're ahead of where we were last year at this time, definitely team-wise and knowing our roles," she said.

The next outing for the Spartans is Tuesday, when they compete in the annual St. Croix Central Invitational. Two nights later they will start their Middle Border Conference schedule, with a match at New Richmond.

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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