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St. Croix Central volleyball has begun the winning process

St. Croix Central middle hitter Katherine Cottrell (14) drives the ball above a Spring Valley block attempt during the Panthers' home-court victory last Thursday. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia

The coaches have the pieces in place.

Now the St. Croix Central volleyball team will begin to put the pieces together in hopes of building another hugely successful season.

Panther coach Mindy Widiker said the coaches decided upon a lineup they liked during the latter rounds of the recent UW-Stout Sprawl. Last week, the Panthers moved forward with that lineup, winning all four matches they played.

The Panthers defeated Eau Claire Regis, Cumberland and Elk Mound at a quad tournament last Tuesday. The Panthers put on an impressive show for their home crowd in a sweep against Spring Valley last Thursday.

Central coach Mindy Widiker said the coaches decided upon the current lineup as they look for reliable and consistent play.

“They all bring something to the table,” Widiker said of the girls placed in the rotation. “I’m impressed with them all.”

Among the younger players who earned spots in the regular rotation are freshman Katie Holmgren and sophomore Olivia Cleary.

“Katie is not your typical freshman. She’s got great court sense,” Widiker said. “Olivia’s come a long way in a little bit of time.”

The Panthers had little trouble with Spring Valley, winning 25-14, 24-12, 25-14, as the Panther hitters feasted against the shorter Spring Valley blockers.

Regis provided an excellent test last Tuesday, taking the first set from the Panthers 25-23. Central regrouped to win 25-12, 15-9. The Panthers won handily in the other two matches.

Widiker said one of the differences in this year’s Central team is its blocking ability. The Panthers field a lineup filled with tall, athletic blockers.

“They’re doing a great job of blocking. In the past years we didn’t have that luxury,” Widiker said.

The Panthers will go more than a week between matches. Their next court time is this Saturday when they play at the Grantsburg Invitational.

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.

(715) 426-1051
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