The Rhinelander volleyball team welcomed the Tomahawk Hatchets to Jim Miazga gymnasium on Tuesday for a battle that had some serious Great Northern Conference title implications. With the Hodags holding a slight one game edge over the tough Tomahawk team, it was a must win scenario in the eyes of many players and fans. Unfortunately for the Hodags, key errors and fundamentally sound play from the Hatchets found Rhinelander on the losing side of the effort 3-0. The win allowed the Hatchets to push themselves back into the GNC title fight as the two teams are now tied heading into the last part of the 2012 season.
In Tuesday’s matchup, the visiting team from Tomahawk edged out the victory over Rhinelander in three very close games, winning by scores of 25-20, 25-17, 25-22. The Lady Hodags seemed to be just a split second slow on many plays that could have been difference makers. The small, though significant timing mistakes was a bitter pill to swallow for Rhinelander’s head coach.
“It was disappointing,” said volleyball Coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz. “We didn’t pass the ball well. We can’t make that many passing errors and expect to beat a team like Tomahawk. They passed the ball well and played great defense. They deserved to win tonight.”
Rhinelander fought tough all night but in the end Tomahawk never waived under Rhinelander’s pressure. Leading in the statistics for the game, for the Lady Hodags, was Taylor Wissbroecker. Wissbroecker had 19 kills and four blocks in the loss for Rhinelander. Katie Berrell chipped in a dozen kills of her own. The other Berrell sister on the team, Lindsay, had 35 assists as her teammate Megan Haug had 18 digs.
Knowing the road ahead is going to be a tough one, Coach Wawrzynowicz hopes her team can learn from this defeat against a quality opponent. Wawrzynowicz knows the type of girls she has on her team and she is very optimistic towards their ability to grow and mature collectively as a group.
“We can and need to keep improving and moving and passing the ball,” the coach said. “It starts in practice tomorrow night.”
The Hodags new record is 30-6 overall and 6-1 in the Great Northern Conference. The loss drops them into dual possession of the conference lead with the Hatchets. The Lady Hodags’ next GNC matchup is away against Antigo on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Antigo High School.