New Richmond volleyball opens Division 1 playoffs at Eau Claire Memorial
The New Richmond and Osceola girls played like they never wanted their volleyball match to end last Tuesday.
And when it did, there was no fanfare, even though the win locked up the Middle Border Conference championship for the Chieftains.
Osceola defeated the Tigers, with the fourth set being one of the most dramatic you’ll ever see. With large and loud crowds for both teams, every point was hard fought. The Tigers reached 25 first, but neither team could put the two points together to finish off the win.
Osceola finally got the winning point at 33-31, but almost nobody noticed or seemed to care. Osceola’s Sydney Roush and a teammate collided on the final point. Roush twisted in the air awkwardly, landing in a spinning motion that injured her knee. She put out her arm to brace her fall, and the impact of the fall caused a dislocated elbow.
New Richmond coach Al Getschel said the injury left the fans and players stunned and exhausted.
“It was a sad way to end the season for both teams. It was a great match. Both teams were swinging away,” he said.
The Tigers didn’t start that way, losing timidly in the first set 25-14. The Tigers picked up their pace in the second set, a 25-18 loss. By the third set the Tigers were roaring, winning 25-21. That led into the epic fourth set.
Getschel said the Tigers need a balanced attack to be at their best and that showed against Osceola.
“We come from a lot of angles. We have to continue doing that,” he said.
Senior middle hitter Loni Bauer led the Tigers with 10 kills. Carly Johnson finished with nine kills and Brooke Keilen with eight kills. The Tigers were effective from the service line with 11 aces for the match. Bauer and Emma Carlson both scored four aces and Keilen added three.
The balance also showed in the Tigers’ defense. They had 48 digs for the night, led by 12 from Amelia Feuerer and 10 from Johnson. Feuerer also led the Tigers by returning 35 of Osceola’s serves, with just four errors.
The Tigers will begin WIAA Division 1 tournament action this Thursday. The Tigers drew the 12th seed in the sectional bracket. That puts them at Eau Claire Memorial at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Old Abes are the fifth seed in the bracket. The winner of Thursday’s match will play again at 7 p.m. on Saturday against the winner of Thursday’s match between Marshfield and Wausau East.
Getschel said Memorial isn’t overly tall and said the Tigers have the skills to match up with the Old Abes, if the New Richmond squad is at the top of its game.
“When they play hard, they can play with anybody,” Getschel said.