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2018 Preview: For New Richmond volleyball, it's not about fun, it's about winning

Senior Amelia Feuerer will handle the libero role as a primary defensive player for the Tigers this season. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Fun or wins.

Coach Al Getschel put those two options to the New Richmond volleyball team on what the Tigers wanted to prioritize this season. The Tigers resoundingly replied with "Winning." That clearly was the answer Getschel was hoping for. With eight varsity players returning to the lineup, the Tigers are aiming to make a substantial step upward in the Middle Border Conference standings this season.

"We're playing to out W's on the board," Getschel said. "The emphasis is a lot of getting after it in practice."

The Tigers are hoping to derive their fun this season in celebrating after victorious matches.

Getschel has pulled out a rarely used volleyball approach to take advantage of the many veteran players who the Tigers return this season.

"I went old school with a three-left system," Getschel said. "When you have the personnel to run it, it gives you a lot of options."

This means the Tigers' left side hitters will mainly use all three of their frontline rotations hitting from the left side. The Tigers have an arsenal of lefts, led by senior Lauren Smith. Smith is intimidating, with one of the most powerful hits in the area.

"She's capable of scaring the daylights out of people. When the competition gets intense, she really cranks it up," Getschel said.

Fans could see a different Tiger filling the other left side hitter role in any match, because there are so many quality options. Mandy Dolezal, Gracie Getschel, Abbie Blaszczyk and Meghan Schleicher are all fully capable of handling that role.

"They each bring a little different element to the game," Coach Getschel said. "Some hit line better, some hit cross court better."

The strength up front continues with the middles. Junior Audrey Feuerer returns and she's joined in that role by sophomore Leah DeYoung. Getschel praised their blocking ability and they are also proving to be quite capable hitters.

Seniors Amelia Feuerer and Mykenzie Patten return to two critical positions. Feuerer uses her quickness and reflexes to be the defensive leader from the libero position. Patten returns as the setter, with Getschel saying how much she's improved since last season, in her ball delivery and in her leadership.

Serving is an area that Getschel wants the Tigers to have an advantage in every match. In the Tigers' season opening-home quad last Tuesday, Patten and Blasczyk put together excellent service runs that carried the Tigers to wins. Junior Abby Denucci will also be a key server for the Tigers, along with playing a defensive role.

The Tigers swept their three matches in the home quad last Tuesday. The tournament gave Getschel a chance to get his point across to the Tigers. The Tigers defeated Spring Valley, Hayward and Somerset. The Tigers scuffled through their match against Spring Valley, barely winning. Getschel said they must play to their style and strengths to be successful. That started by getting some sets to Smith, who ripped some thunderous hits. With defenses concentrating their blocking efforts toward her, it opened up hitting avenues for the other Tiger hitters.

When the Tigers are playing the style that Getschel believes best suits the team's talent, he said the team is capable of big things. Getschel said one of the goals for the Tigers is to be an impact team in the MBC this season.

"I think we can compete for a title. I think we've taken some good steps in the right direction."

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 more than 30 years.

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