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Tigers start tournaments at D.C. Everest

New Richmond's Sami Paulson (8) and Lauren Smith (21) go up to block a tip by Amery's Madelyn Granica during a recent match. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The New Richmond volleyball team will open action in the WIAA Division 1 regional tournament Thursday.

The Tigers drew the 11th seed in the sectional tournament bracket. That earned them a ticket to D.C. Everest High School in Schofield for the opening-round match. D.C. Everest is the sixth seed in the tournament bracket.

Because the section covers such a large area, there are very few comparables between the two teams. Tiger coach Al Getschel and his staff have done some scouting of the tournament opponent. He said D.C. Everest relies heavily on one leftside hitter, along with a 6-1 blocker in the middle.

Getschel said he's considering using a 6-2 formation for the tournaments. He said he's leaning toward using a 6-2 next season and the coaches think it might give the team more flexibility against an unfamiliar opponent.

The Tigers finished the regular season Oct. 10, losing a Middle Border Conference match at Osceola in three sets, leaving the Tigers with a final 2-5 MBC record.

In recent matches, the Tigers have been playing on an upward trajectory. That changed in the loss at Osceola, which came at scores of 25-18, 25-15, 25-17. The Tigers had 41 unforced errors in the three games, which was clearly uncharacteristic of their recent play.

Getschel talked with his players the next day and found the girls were emotionally drained over the death of fifth-grader Morgan Greene earlier in the week. Getschel said the coaches had underestimated how much the tragedy would affect his players.

"A lot of them were thinking about their mortality more than they ever have before," Getschel said. He said it had a "drawdown" effect on the team's emotion, leaving them with little inspiration for playing volleyball. And it didn't help that Tigers were facing a hot opponent.

"Kudos to Osceola, it was by far and away their best match of the year," Getschel said.

Sami Paulson and Mandy Dolezal led the Tigers with six kills each in the loss. Gracie Getschel and Lauren Smith finished with five kills. Paulson and Getschel both scored with two ace serves.

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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