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Panthers topple Amery, Osceola

St. Croix Central senior Katie Koerper is one of the most well-rounded players in the Middle Border Conference. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The march goes on.

The St. Croix Central volleyball team continued to build toward its goal of a Middle Border Conference championship last week by posting wins against Amery and Osceola.

The Panthers rolled past Amery 25-10, 25-15 and 25-19 last Tuesday, Sept. 26. They had a tougher time when they faced the always competitive team from Osceola last Thursday. The Panthers won the opening sets 25-20 and 25-15. The third set was a test of both team's willpower, with Osceola winning 27-25. But the Panthers made sure that's as far as the comeback went, winning the fourth set 25-18.

Central and Osceola waged some lengthy points. The Panthers put up some of their best hitting of the season, finishing with more than 50 kills. That was led by junior Abbie Widiker, who put away 23 kills and senior Katie Koerper, who scored with 16. Middle hitters Claire Frankiewicz and Katherine Cottrell combined for 10 kills.

Defense is just as important as hitting for the Panthers and they had 63 successful digs in Thursday's win. Widiker led in that area with 18, while libero Mary Buckel delivered 13. Nine different Panthers recorded digs in the win. Setters Karlee Martinez and Kalli Cress combined for 46 assists.

One area where the Panthers might be looking for improvement is serve accuracy. The Panthers had nine missed serves in the match. The Panthers had eight ace serves, with Martinez collecting four and Widiker three.

Serving was much more of a successful weapon for the Panthers against Amery. The Panthers scored with 15 ace serves, while just having three missed serves that night. Cress and Frankiewicz each supplied four aces in that win.

The hitting attack was again efficient, with 35 kills over the three sets. Koerper and Widiker again led in that area, with 13 kills apiece. Martinez and Cress combined for 31 assists.

The defense was again at the top of its game, with 38 digs. Koerper led the team in that area with 13, while Buckel finished with 11.

These wins increase Central's record in the Middle Border Conference to 5-0, where they stand alone atop the conference. The Panthers were scheduled to host Prescott on Tuesday. They will finish their regular season next Tuesday, when they play at Somerset.

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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