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SPASH Volleyball Earns a Split

September 18, 2012
By Todd VanderLoop of Stevens Point Area Senior High

Posted by Brian Kalish on 15 Sep 2012 / 0 Comment
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By Brian Kalish

September 15, 2012

Updated 9-16 7:14am

Wausau– The SPASH Panthers volleyball team, fresh off a 3-0 win over Wausau West on Thursday night, returned to Wausau for Wisconsin Valley Conference tournament action on Saturday.

SPASH’s first match was against Wausau East and, at least in the early going, it appeared that any momentum that the Panthers had gained in their victory over West had evaporated as the Lumberjacks, led by senior Hailey Schulz, battered SPASH in the first and second sets.  East claimed two early victories by the score of 25-16 and 25-17.

However, with their backs against the wall, SPASH rallied in the third set.  It was a close, tense battle that saw the Panthers and Lumberjacks tied at 19 and then again at 22.  It seemed that in the first and second sets, Wausau East was the recipient of a number of good-luck plays, but the tide turned in the Panthers’ favor in the latter stages of the third set when SPASH’s Molly Williams nailed a monster kill to give SPASH a 24-22 lead.  SPASH would hang on to take the third set 25-22.

Showing grit and determination, SPASH came through in successive sets 25-20 and 15-12, respectively, to take the hard-fought win over the Lumberjacks.

“In our first match against Wauau East, we truly earned the win,” said SPASH head coach Julie Johnson.  ”We came out very flat in games 1 and 2, put proved to be fighters by winning game 3 and then pushing through to the end.  I was very proud of their effort to come back after being down 2.”

Next up for SPASH was Marshfield and, once again, SPASH ran into a juggernaut in the early stages of the match.  The Tigers battled to a  25-21 win in the first set, followed by a 25-19 victory in the second.  However, the Panthers would not go quietly.  They fought Marshfield in the third set, but ultimately fell, 30-28.

“Against Marshfield we couldn’t find any kind of consistency,” Johnson said.  ”We were not offensive enough and struggled with execution in transition.  Unforced errors hurt us, especially in game 3 when we had a chance to finish by being up 24-21.   Hopefully we will learn from that situation and be stronger the next time we are in it.”

Nicki Hauser led the team with 33 kills and 27 digs, respectively.  Brooke Bembeneck  also added 27 digs for SPASH.

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