By Nick Beversdorf
It was yet another successful tournament for Merrill volleyball on Saturday at DC Everest as they, with the exception of one set loss to Marshfield, won every set and match. Merrill defeated East 25-16, 25-13, 25-18, Marshfield 25-20, 25-15, (25-17 Marsh win), 25-23 and West 25-20, 26-24, 25-20. Merrill volleyball currently sits second in the Valley Conference at 9-1, behind the undefeated Everest (as of Oct. 8).
Merrill first faced off against East, arguably the easiest game of the tournament. Morgan Wardall led with nine kills out of 18 attempts with four errors. Katie Zelinski and Maddix Bonnell also had a great night hitting with Zelinski nailing eight kills out of 15 attempts with two errors and Bonnell getting nine kills out of 18 attempts, error-free.
Bonnell also had a great night serving, sending four aces over the net out of 13 attempts, error-free. Kelsie Belfiori was also a top server with two aces and one error out of 16 attempts. Serving was relatively uniform across everyone else. Taylor Cichy had two aces out of 11 attempts with one error, Lindsey Casper had one ace and one error out of 11 attempts, Wardall had one ace out of 11 attempts with no errors and Kate Peterson had one ace out of 10 attempts with no errors.
The Marshfield match saw much higher numbers all around as it was the night’s most difficult and longest match. Wardall was the top hitter with 15 kills and seven errors out of 47 attempts. Zelinski followed close behind at nine kills and five errors out of 24 attempts and Bonnell had four kills and four errors out of 26 attempts.
Serving was led by Belfiori with three kills and an error out of 23 attempts. Casper had two aces and one error out of 23 attempts and Wardall had three aces out of 15 attempts, error-free.
Cichy was the top passer with 13 perfect, 30 good, four okay and four incomplete out of 51 attempts. She was also tied with Bonnell in digs with 20 each.
The last match against Wausau West saw Wardall nail 14 kills out of 35 attempts with six errors. Zelinski had 10 kills and three errors out of 23 attempts and Bonnell had five kills and three errors out of 16 attempts. Belfiori again led in serving with four aces and two errors out of 21 attempts. Cichy, Wardall and Casper all had an ace each.
“It was great to come away with three conference wins today,” comments head coach Kristi Krug. “A couple of the sets got a little bit scary with a lack of communication, blocking, and passing coming into play. However, we came together as a team to overcome those small deficits.
“This last week of regular season has us matching up against Rapids and DC Everest. Two more conference matches. We are looking forward to finishing up regular season play and beginning our quest in the post-season!”
Merrill faces Wisconsin Rapids-Lincoln on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at home and then on Thursday they will face DC Everest away at 7 p.m. After that Merrill volleyball will officially start the post-season with their first regional match next Tuesday (Oct. 18), 7 p.m. at home against Lakeland.