By Nick Beversdorf
Spikers and setters from all over Wisconsin went down to Whitewater this past weekend to participate in the 26-team volleyball invitational. Merrill had their work cut out for them as they faced off against numerous teams over the course of two days. Merrill eventually placed fifth, tying with Milton.
In the first round of play on Friday, Merrill beat New Berlin Eisenhower, St. Joseph and Central WI Christian. Merrill then lost to Evansville placing them second in the pool, but still good enough to advance.
Saturday morning, Merrill beat McFarland and Union Grove in the pool, but lost to Oak Creek. The top two teams in this pool advanced to single elimination play in the Purple Championship Bracket. Unfortunately, Merrill met Cedarburg and they eliminated them.
Cedarburg would take second place and Franklin would take first.
“I was pleased with our performance this weekend,” comments head coach Kristie Krug. “I have to remind myself that only 1/3 of the team has valid varsity experience. We made a lot of mistakes and missed way too many serves at key points, but that is all a part of the learning process.”
Lindsey Casper and Kelsie Belfiori were top servers for the tournament. Lindsey had 86 attacks, 11 aces, four errors and an in % of 95.3. Kelsie had 81 attacks, 19 aces, nine errors and an in % of 88.9. The top hitters included Morgan Wardall, Maddix Bonnell and Katie Zelinski. Katie had 120 attacks, 40 kills, 14 errors and a hit % of 0.217. Morgan had 124 attacks, 43 kills, 16 errors and a hit % of 0.218. Maddix had 102 attacks, 24 kills, 15 errors and a hit % of 0.088.
“Morgan Wardall played well on Friday night,” adds Krug. “She picked apart the defense of our opponents and had 28 kills. Katie Zelinski had a good day on Saturday with 21 kills which earned her a spot on the All-Tournament Team. I believe we will continue to grow with every match.”
Varsity volleyball will face off against Wausau West on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the MHS Fieldhouse.