By Jared Schmeltzer
At Saturday’s second leg of the Wisconsin Valley Conference volleyball tournament, Merrill fell short in their third game after taking care of business in the first two.
The Bluejays cruised past Wausau East in their first game of the day, winning in three straight sets. The first set saw Merrill taking a 25-18 win, followed up by a 25-20 win in the second set. Merrill dominated the third set, winning by a score of 25-8.
The Bluejays then set their sights on Marshfield who was able to put up a little more of a fight, going four sets. Merrill started off well taking the first set 25-22, but then slipping up in the second set as Marshfield took it 25-21. A hard fought third set gave the Bluejays a lead, winning the set 25-23. The final set was all Merrill as they won 25-7.
In the Bluejays’ final game of the day against Wausau West, Merrill would fall in five sets. The Bluejays got off to a hot start winning the first set 25-23, and taking the second set as well by a score of 25-21. Momentum switched sides after that as West won the third set 25-21. West also went on to take the second set by a score of 25-15 and eventually won the fifth set and game by a score of 15-10.
“Definitely a disappointing end to our day. But maybe we can learn from the loss as we understand that everyone wants to beat us and teams bring their A game against us. Now, next week takes on a whole new meaning, so back to work!” comments coach Kris Krug.
Despite the loss, the ladies remain in charge of the Wisconsin Valley Conference at 10-1.
Conference win over Point
On Saturday (Sept. 28), Merrill traveled to Stevens Point to take on conference opponent SPASH. The Bluejays got down early but were able to battle back and win the game in four sets.
The first set saw SPASH taking the win 25-18. Merrill would rally after that, taking the second set by a score of 25-23. The Bluejays went on to win the third set 25-17 and took the fourth and final set 25-23.
“I’m so proud of this team tonight,” Krug commented after the match. “Being able to beat a top notch team like SPASH on their home court with a large crowd and Pink Night festivities. We didn’t play our best but we didn’t give up. Defensively, SPASH dug an incredible amount of balls up and they did a great job of covering Morgan Wardall. Fortunately, we have other hitters that are becoming more consistent and we can rely on them in pressure situations. We have this week to get ready for the second leg of the Valley Conference Tournament in which we will be facing Wausau East, Marshfield and Wausau West. We have a lot to polish up before then, but we have confidence in our team to step up their game as we head into October.”
Merrill was able to serve the ball well with three girls serving 100%. The 100% severs include Maddix Bonnell (21 attempts), Kelsie Belfiori (11 attempts) and Kate Peterson (10 attempts). Morgan Wardall and Megan Schroder tied for kills in the game with 14 while Wardall also led the team in aces with four.
The girls will be back in action on Thursday as they take on D.C. Everest at home.