In the christening of the Jim Miazga community gymnasium, the Rhinelander girls’ volleyball team put on a stellar show Tuesday night. The Lady Hodags were coming off an extended road trip that saw them play 69 matches away from home and they were excited to be back in the friendly confines of their own gym. Rhinelander came in with high expectations knowing they were taking on Northland Pines in a GNC clash. The Lady Hodags were favorites entering the contest, and proved the experts right as they swept Pines off of the home floor 3-0 by scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-12.
The Eagles kept the games relatively close through the first two contests, utilizing a soft touch to find the area between the two lines of the Hodags defense. But Rhinelander eventually tightened things up and went on a 7-0 run to close out their second game. The Lady Hodags then got off to a hot start in the 3rd contest, building the lead to as large as 16-4 at one point.
“It was nice to be at home,” said RHS volleyball head coach Wawrzynowicz. “Northland Pines didn’t come out and lay an egg tonight. We played well, but we can play better. We need to be ready to play and Saturday is going to be a lot tougher.”
The Lady Hodags used the experience they got in their recent matchups with some high quality teams down at the Beaver Dam Invite over the weekend. Rhinelander held their own against teams like Sun Prairie. And in spite of splitting with the Cardinals from the Big Eight League, the Lady Hodags were the only team to beat them at the tournament. And as they did during the invitational in Beaver Dam, Rhinelander used team work to dominate the Northland Pines Eagles at home on Tuesday night.
For the Lady Hodags, Katie Berrell had 13 kills and 5 digs on the evening. Teammate Lexi Haug also had a nice game. She added 10 kills. Senior Lindsay Berrell ended up with 30 assists and was 14-15 serving, notching 3 aces. Megan Haug had 6 digs to help her team put away the visiting Eagles.
“The girls were a little nervous tonight playing at home, but we need to keep improving,” said Coach Wawrzynowicz.
And the girls are going to have to keep sharp as Rhinelander’s (20-3, 2-0) next challenge is Saturday, September 15, as they host the opening round of the Great Northern Conference Tournament at the Jim Miazga community gymnasium. Things get underway at 10am at the “Jim” with conference teams from Antigo, Lakeland, Medford Area, Mosinee, Northland Pines, Tomahawk taking part.