Fortified by a large and vocal home crowd, the New Richmond varsity volleyball team stood out in sweeping three games in its Middle Border Conference opener Thursday, Sept. 14.
The Tigers took early control in the first two games, winning 25-19 and 25-16. The third game wasn't so smooth, but the Tigers battled back late in the game to earn a 29-27 win in the finale.
The Tigers are based around a balanced attack. Junior Lauren Smith has become the centerpiece of the attack and led the Tigers with nine kills against B-W. Sami Paulson finished with six kills, Audrey Feuerer with five and Mandy Dolezal with four.
Serving was one of the areas where the Tigers held a big edge against B-W. The Tigers finished the night with 19 aces. Dolezal led that charge with eight. Smith added four, Amelia Feuerer three and Paulson and MyKenzie Patten had two each.
Dolezal also paced the team with seven digs, with Amelia Feuerer supplying six and Patten four.
The Tigers were one of the youngest teams in the area to start the season. But the progress they've made over the past month has been immeasurable. Just ask Menomonie. The Mustangs have recorded some solid wins this season, but they couldn't beat the Tigers on Sept. 12. The Tigers won 25-12, 25-9, 23-25, 25-7.
Smith and Audrey Feuerer again had major hitting success. Smith had 10 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Feuerer finished with eight kills and a .667 success rate.
Serving again was a major arrow in the Tigers' attack. Paulson racked up 10 aces on her own, and Gracie Getschel and Amelia Feuerer both supplied four.
Tiger coach Al Getschel said he expects aggressive serving from his players and it paid dividends in both of these wins.
"As long as the ace-to-error ratio is still positive," he said.
On Saturday, Sept. 16, the Tigers went to a tournament in Farmington, Minn. Just say, it wasn't the Tigers' day. They lost their first three matches against Minnesota teams from Osseo, Owatonna and Farmington. They salvaged the final match of the day against Bloomington Kennedy, 25-21, 25-21. It was the end of a very long, very intense two-week stretch of matches for the Tigers.
"It wasn't that we faced anyone that good," Getschel said. "The girls were physically and emotionally tired. You could see it in their warmups."
The Tigers get this weekend off, but it's sandwiched around a pair of MBC matches. The Tigers will host Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 21, before playing at Somerset on Tuesday, Sept. 26.