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Central volleyball wins twice at Ellsworth

Junior Madison Malecek is expected to be one of the leading hitters for the Panthers this season.

Improved passing and setting fueled the sharpest performance of the St. Croix Central volleyball team during a triangular tournament at Ellsworth last Thursday.

The improvements helped the Panthers win both of their matches in the tournament, against Glenwood City and Ellsworth.

The key behind the success on Thursday was the decision by coaches Julia Foley and Laura Lee to try a 6-2 attack, with Haylee Hawke and Marissa Hill both setting.

"The girls seemed to gel much better performing a 6-2. Their passing came together very well and they were much more successful defensively with digging and blocking," Foley said.

Thursday's matches started with Central sweeping a pair of games against Ellsworth. The Panthers were spot on with their passes, led by libero Sadie Buckel.

With the passing and setting working well together, there were more good opportunities available for Central's hitters. Kayla Pabst led Central's hitters with six kills, while Abby Harrington, Melissa Brunshidle, Madison Malecek and Breanna Danielson each delivered three kills.

Central followed that with two wins against Glenwood City. Foley said the team's defense stepped to the forefront, with both its digging and its blocking.

"Our team was very scrappy and kept the ball alive. They were able to keep playing the ball until Glenwood City made errors," Foley said.

Pabst and Malecek each had three kills against the Hilltoppers with Ayla Granberg contributing two kills.

The wins at Ellsworth were a vast improvement for the Panthers after they lost matches against Barron and Altoona in a tournament at Barron last Tuesday.

"Our team struggled with serve reception and digging against the servers and big hitters of these teams," Foley said.

The Panthers have a pair of home-court matches scheduled in the upcoming days. The Panthers will face Somerset in Hammond this Thursday. The Panthers begin Dunn-St. Croix Conference action next Tuesday, when they again face Glenwood City.

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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