Spartans open WIAA tournaments at home

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The Somerset volleyball team was scheduled to open WIAA Division 2 tournament action at home on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The winner of Tuesday's match will be in action again Thursday, Oct. 19.

Somerset received the chance to play at home on Tuesday by drawing the eighth seed in the Division 2 regional playoff bracket. Somerset hosted Osceola, the ninth seed, in Tuesday's match. The winner of Tuesday's match will play Thursday at St. Croix Central. Central is the top seed in this sectional bracket. The winner of Thursday's match will be in action again on Saturday, playing in the Division 2 regional final.

Somerset's players are very familiar with both of the possible opponents. The Spartans played St. Croix Central last Tuesday. Their previous match was against Osceola. The Spartans won the Oct. 5 match against Osceola, but they weren't as fortunate when they faced undefeated St. Croix Central last Tuesday.

Central won Tuesday's match by scores of 25-21, 25-9 and 25-15. The Somerset coaches are hoping they get to use what the Spartans learned in the first set of last Tuesday's match in another matchup against Central. The opening set Tuesday featured outstanding play from both sides of the net. The score was tied 21-21 before Central took the final four points to get the win.

"To get 21 points against an undefeated team is an accomplishment," Somerset coach Sarah Praschak said.

The second set started on even ground, but quickly slipped into Central's control. Central's powerful hitters and crafty serves gradually picked apart the Spartan defense, leading to the one-sided scores in the final two sets.

"Our serve receive really broke down and that is our solid strength," Praschak said.

Praschak was highly complimentary of Central's hitters.

"Abbie (Widiker) is by far the best hitter we've come across this season and (Katie Koerper) did a very nice job too. It wa a good learning experience to come across a team that dynamite in each rotation," Praschak said.

The Spartans did have some success at the net in the match. Anna Rybacki led the team with eight kills and Brooke Beuthling and Hannah Waskosky each scored with four. Rybacki and Beuthling each had three successful blocks.

Praschak said the serving of Taylor Sporleder was another highlight. She was on target with all nine of her serves.

"She racked up some points for us. She had some tough serves," Praschak said.