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New Richmond volleyball doesn't finish off Osceola in conference showdown

Tiger senior Alicia Brugler prepares to deliver a serve during Saturday’s New Richmond Invitational. The Tigers were adorned in pink uniforms Saturday for their annual “Dig Pink” fundraising effort.

Six more points.

That’s what the New Richmond volleyball team needed to finish off Osceola in the fourth game of their battle for the Middle Border Conference lead last Thursday.

The Tigers held a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth game on Thursday. The Tigers held the momentum through most of the game, leading 16-8 and 19-14. Osceola quickly grabbed the momentum away, charging to a 25-22 win in the fourth game. The Chieftains rode that wave of energy to a 15-4 win in Game 5.

The loss left the Tigers stunned, after the win had slipped from their grasp so quickly.

“They were hoping to be conference champions,” said Tiger assistant coach Al Getschel, who filled in as head coach last week.

When the Tigers were at the top of their game Thursday, they were nearly unstoppable. When they weren’t, it was noticeable. That happened in the first game, when the volume created by Osceola’s fans seemed to get to the Tigers. Osceola won the opener 25-15.

“We had a hard time with communication with the loud crowd directly behind them,” Getschel said.

The momentum swung the Tigers’ way in the second game. They took a 6-0 lead and were able to maintain the lead throughout the 25-18 win. It was the same way in the third game. The Tigers effectively silenced Osceola’s crowd in winning 25-17. It appeared the same would happen in the fourth game.

When the pendulum of momentum swung in Osceola’s favor, the Tigers’ play was affected. The Tigers weren’t able to get any block kills the rest of the night after the blocking had been so effective in the middle games. Osceola’s hitters were able to fire away and the Chieftains racked up points quickly.

The loss came two nights after the Tigers had obliterated Amery. The Tigers came out firing, winning the opening game by an incredible 25-3 score. The Tigers relaxed a bit too much in the second game, making 10 errors, but they were still able to win 25-18. They cleaned up their play in the third game for a quick 25-10 win.

New Richmond Invitational

The Tigers won two of their four matches in the New Richmond Invitational on Saturday.

There was a big challenge awaiting the Tigers in the opening round of the tournament. The Tigers had purposely scheduled state-ranked Altoona as their opening opponent. Altoona was ready for the challenge, winning the opening game 25-12. The second game was a more fitting display from two formidable teams, with Altoona winning 26-24.

In the second round the Tigers faced another quality opponent in the Barron Bears. These games were both close, with the Tigers pulling away late in both games for 25-22, 25-19 wins.

The Tigers moved into the silver pool, facing Grantsburg. The Tigers had beaten Grantsburg in the Pirates’ tournament and Grantsburg was intent on avenging that loss. The Pirates did so, winning in two games.

In the final round the Tigers faced Somerset. The Tigers wanted to show their Middle Border Conference win at Somerset wasn’t a fluke. They accomplished that by beating the Spartans 25-8, 25-21.

MBC finale

The Tigers next match will be played next Tuesday, when they are at Durand in their MBC season finale. The Tigers then begin planning for the WIAA volleyball tournaments, which begin on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

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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