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St. Croix Central volleyball hoping to put the pieces together

St. Croix Central's Marissa Hill digs up a ball out of the net during the Panthers' match against Somerset last Thursday.

The St. Croix Central volleyball team has shown glimpses of being the team it wants to be.

According to the Panther coaches, the next step is putting together strong showing in all aspects of the game and then doing it on a consistent basis.

Last week the Panthers lost to two Middle Border Conference opponents. The difference in the Panthers' performances between the two matches shows the team's need for consistency.

The Panthers lost at Baldwin-Woodville 25-5, 25-21, 25-11 last Tuesday. The team put together a much more promising showing in a 25-21, 25-21, 25-23 hard-fought loss against Somerset last Thursday.

In Thursday's match, the Panthers were competitive with stretches where they struggled and stretches where they shined. Junior Madison Malecek was the presence the Panthers needed at the net.

"Madison had a great night," said Central co-coach Julia Foley. "It was her best night so far in high school."

There were times the Panthers were able to usie their serving as a weapon, accurately hitting desired spots on the court with their serves. Marissa Hill and Breanna Danielson were the most effective of the Panther servers.

Passing was the area where the Panthers showed the biggest difference between Tuesday and Thursday. In Tuesday's match the Panthers' serve reception was picked apart by Baldwin-Woodvile's servers. On Thursday, led by defensive specialist Sadie Buckel, the Panthers were much more capable in handling Somerset's serves. Buckel also led the Panthers in successful digs.

Abbie Harrington led the Panthers in blocks and Haylee Hawke topped the team in assists.

Foley said the Panthers show the possibilities of being a team that can be strong in all aspects of the game.

"We have some talented players," Foley said. "We just have to put it all together."

The Panthers are now into their Dunn-St. Croix Conference schedule. It continues this Thursday with a match at Mondovi. The Panthers will play at home next Tuesday, when Pepin's girls visit.

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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