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New Richmond volleyball learns from painful defeat

New Richmond’s Emma Carlson (13) was an effective server during last Tuesday’s match against St. Croix Central.

For the first two sets in last Tuesday’s home match against St. Croix Central, the New Richmond volleyball team played sharp, aggressive ball.

But after winning the first two sets, the Tigers momentarily let up on the pressure it was applying. And that was all the opening St. Croix Central needed. The Panthers came back to win the final three sets, delivering the Tigers’ first Middle Border Conference loss of the season.

Credit the Tigers for learning from the defeat. They went to Prescott two nights later and came home with their second MBC win of the season.

The Tigers and Prescott split the first two sets, which both went down to the wire. New Richmond won the opener 27-25 and Prescott came back with a 26-24 win.

That’s when Tiger coach Al Getschel reminded the Tigers about what happened against Central. The Tigers renewed their efforts, earning 25-16 wins in each of the final two sets.

The Tigers hit the ball with authority at Prescott, led by Carly Johnson’s 18 kills. Kianna Osterbauer contributed nine kills and Hanna Weinzierl scored with seven. Johnson also led the Tigers with 13 digs, followed by Amelia Feuerer with 10.

Twelve ace serves were a key part of the Tiger attack, with senior Loni Bauer producing seven aces. Serve receiving was also a big ingredient in the Tigers’ success, with just five errors in the four sets.

Getschel said the Tigers couldn’t have won without executing the team’s strategy for the night, which was to keep the ball away from Prescott’s top hitter.

“Prescott has an absolutely fabulous middle hitter,” Getschel said. “Our main plan was to shut her down. You’ve got to take away your opponent’s top weapons. It’s no different than football.”

Executing the strategy was what worked so well in the opening two sets against Central, where the Tigers 25-16 and 28-26.

“The first set we executed our game play to a T. The girls got so excited about the success they started hitting with randomness. You have to have purpose in what you do,” Getschel said.

That opened the opportunity for Central to grab the momentum and the Panthers never gave it back, winning the final three sets 25-2, 25-16 and 15-7.

Johnson led the Tigers with nine kills against Central. Osterbauer produced five aces, while Emma Carlson and Johnson both served four aces. Osterbauer and Johnson led the team in digs.

The Tigers play at Ellsworth this Thursday in another MBC match. The Tigers will host their annual invitational tournament on Saturday, before playing at Amery next Tuesday.

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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