Two injuries on the same play in practice on Monday have forced major changes for the St. Croix Central volleyball team.
Senior Catherine Cottrell and junior Khloe Martinez were injured on the same play during practice on Monday. Panther coach Mindy Widiker said Tuesday that she hoped Cottrell could begin playing in a week after spraining her knee. Martinez sprained an ankle and it appears she will be sidelined longer. The Panthers are already without senior middle hitter Claire Frankiewicz, who is sidelined for the season due to a knee injury.
Widiker said she carried more younger players on the varsity roster to start the season and now several of those younger players will be thrust into more significant roles on the team. Cottrell is a strong middle blocker, while Martinez is a top all-around player and outside hitter. Both girls were injured on the same play in practice. They went up, side-by-side, in a block attempt. They landed in a tangled pile, with both girls hurt.
There is only one match on the schedule for the Panthers this week, so the younger players will get more practice time to work into their roles. That match is on Thursday, when the Panthers host Somerset in the first match of the Middle Border Conference season for both teams.
The only action the Panthers had last week was the Grantsburg tournament on Saturday. The Panthers took second place in the tournament, losing to the host Pirates in the championship match. Central won the opening set 25-16, but Grantsburg came back with 26-24 and 15-8 wins to earn the championship.
Widiker said this wasn't one of the Panthers' best showings, saying she felt the girls were a bit tentative against the Pirates. She said she saw too much tipping and is looking for the Panthers to attack more often.
The tournament was otherwise pretty routine for the Panthers. Because a team dropped out, they had an opening bye. They then rolled past Spring Valley and Turtle Lake with little trouble to reach the championship match.