By Nick Beversdorf
It was a hard-fought match, but the lady Jays eventually fell to DC Everest Thursday night in three straight sets, 25-18, 25-19 and 25-16 for a 3-0 loss. Everest had been a big thorn in Merrill’s side during conference play, and what was a potential tie for first place in the Valley Conference now is a still very strong second place standing for Merrill.
Morgan Wardall had the most kills with 10 out of 28 attempts and six errors. Katie Zelinski, Maddix Bonnell and Kaylee Bowe were also top hitters; Zelinski had nine kills and one error out of 18 attempts, Bowe had six kills and two errors out of 13 attempts and Bonnell had three kills and one error out of 14 attempts.
Serving was led by Kelsie Belfiori with three aces and one error out of 12 attempts. Bonnell was the only other server with any aces – two out of 11 attempts, error-free.
Passing was led by Taylor Cichy with 15 perfect, 11 good, two okay and three incomplete. Bonnell and Belfiori also had a busy night passing, with Bonnell passing four perfect, 14 good, 4 okay and three incomplete and Belfiori passing three perfect, 11 good, five okay and one incomplete.
“Of course it is disappointing to lose in three, as we fought back in every game, but we also gave up a 5-point run in each set,” comments head coach Kristi Krug. “We just couldn’t afford to make any mistakes against a team that is at the caliber of DC Everest. The good news is that we won’t come across them during the post season.”
Although ending the regular season on a loss, things still look good for the post-season as Merrill volleyball will face D2 opponents, never to see any of the Valley Conference teams during the play-offs. Last season, Merrill made it it all the way to the sectional championships, falling to Altoona 3-1.
“We are looking forward to our match against Lakeland on Tuesday night in Merrill to begin Regional playoffs,” adds Krug.
Northland Pines was erroneously stated in the newspaper as the opponents for Tuesday’s match-up, it is in fact Lakeland. Merrill will host Lakeland for the first round of regional playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. If Merrill wins, they fill face the winner of the Pines-Antigo game on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m., location TBD.
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