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Somerset volleyball team earns respect in final outing

Losses are unavoidable in the WIAA playoffs, unless you win a state championship.

But a great deal can be said in how you lose. After a season of struggles, the Somerset volleyball team put up a hearty fight in its opening round loss to Baldwin-Woodville in the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament last Tuesday.

Somerset lost to the Blackhawks 25-15, 25-15, 25-19. This was a much better result than when the two teams met during their Middle Border Conference schedule.

“We played better than I thought we would,” said Somerset coach Sarah Praschak. “We did a lot of things well: blocking, digging, serving and serve receiving.”

Praschak said she was encouraged to see her team playing with more confidence in their skills. All three games were close for the first two-thirds of the game, before the Blackhawks went on a late-scoring rally in each to pull away for the win.

Where the Spartans couldn’t match B-W was in putting away kills. The Blackhawks had a left-side hitter who was pounding down a number of kills. The Spartans also couldn’t match the Blackhawks’ success at the net.

“We just didn’t have the offensive threats,” Praschak said, saying the team went heavily with roll and tip shots instead of delivering their hardest hits.

Praschak said the Spartans were able to limit the success of the Blackhawks’ middle hitters due to a solid blocking effort from Rachel Plourde, Kendrah Wink, Abbie Rivard and Becca Olin. Olin got the start when Tori Martell was sidelined by a sprained ankle suffered in a recent practice.

“We needed to end with a good feeling and I thought we did our best, with the inexperience we have,” Praschak said.

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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