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Spirited Spartans see season end

Taylor Sporleder was one of the spirited seniors who always made the Spartan matches entertaining. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The Somerset and Osceola volleyball teams played last Tuesday's WIAA Division 2 regional tournament match knowing that their seasons were at stake.

And they played like it. The passion shown by both teams resulted in a number of tremendous saves and long points. But Osceola was able to come up with more kills, and with it the victory in four sets over the Spartans. That moved Osceola into Thursday's round of regional play against top-seeded St. Croix Central.

Osceola won the opening set 25-21, but Somerset rebounded with its sharpest play of the night, winning the second set 25-14. The third set was incredibly close, with neither team holding a lead of more than two points until Osceola scored the final four points to win 25-21. The Spartans' passion took a hit with that loss and they couldn't overcome a slow start in the fourth set, losing 25-17.

The Spartans graduate a large class of seniors consisting of Kat Praschak, Anna Rybacki, Tori Gareis, Brooke Beuthling, Dani Flandrick, Hannah Waskosky and Taylor Sporleder. The Spartans graduated a large class last year, so these girls had to step up quickly to take over the team's key responsibilities.

"The chemistry they had on the court is one of the best I've seen in several years," Somerset coach Sarah Praschak said. "Rebuilding teams are fun because the growth is so tremendous."

Praschak said this team achieved several things that the program hasn't done in a number of years. That included reaching the finals at the Hudson Invitational, earning a regular season win against Osceola, and receiving a home game in the opening round of WIAA tournaments.

The Spartans became a strong defensive team and that showed against Osceola. Kat Praschak led the team with 15 digs, with Brooke Beuthling and Hannah Waskosky also performing well. Praschak, Waskosky and Beuthling were also the team's top performers in serve receiving, handling more than 70 with only five errors between them.

Waskosky led the Spartans with seven kills and Anna Rybacki supplied six. Rybacki and Brit Buchanan combined for 12 successful blocks. Rybacki was the team's most accurate server, being on target with all nine of her attempts. Taylor Sporleder, Beuthling and Praschak also had strong service runs for the Spartans. Serving also held the one negative in the match for the Spartans. Coach Praschak said the team usually has two or three missed serves, but in this match they had 10 missed serves.

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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