The Rhinelander Hodag volleyball team traveled to Antigo on Tuesday night, Oct. 2, for a key conference matchup against the rival Red Robins. If the Hodags win out in conference play, they can clinch a share of the GNC title with perennial powerhouse Tomahawk. But the visiting team wasn’t taking Antigo for granted. The Lady Hodags knew they had to stick to their formula in order to secure a win. So, showing fundamental passing and a little bit of tenacity, Rhinelander defeated Antigo by a score of 3-1.
The first game for the Hodags was tight as they prevailed 25-23 in the final tally. The Robins swung momentum in the second game winning 15-25, but the Hodags dug deep and prevailed in the final two contests by scores of 25-14 and 25-20 respectively.
“We played smart volleyball,” explained RHS volleyball coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz. “Lindsay Berrell did a great job getting it to our hitters and they started to put it away.” The coach went onto say, “The first game we started good and then the second wasn’t all there. Then we picked it up over the third and fourth games.”
The Hodags recognized their mistakes, but returned to the basics of the game on Tuesday. Utilizing sharp serving and overall crisp passing, the Hodags dissected the Robins’ defense.
“Our serving was excellent tonight,” Wawrzynowicz said. “We only missed two all game.” When asked what she saw as their biggest problem against Antigo, she turned to fundamentals. “We couldn’t pass the ball in the second game and they got 8 straight points on us because we couldn’t return a serve. That killed us,” the coach said. “But we played smart volleyball and found the holes we needed to and got the win.”
Taylor Wissbroecker once again led the team in kills with 22 overall and 3 block kills. Katie Berrell had another solid performance, with 17 kills, 21 digs, and 3 blocks herself. Lexi Haug had 20 digs and three aces going 21 for 21 serving up the Robins. Lindsay Berrell added 42 assists and four serving aces, going 18 of 19 from behind the service line. And finally Megan Haug had 25 digs and was a perfect 15 for 15 serving.
Junior Katie Berrell was happy with her team’s improvement and ability to rebound following a disappointing second game.
“I thought we played well,” Berrell said. “We played a little scrappy and continued to push the pace. Overall, we passed pretty well and did what was necessary to take home the win.”
The Hodags are now 32-6, 7-1 in the Great Northern Conference. The Hodags host Mosinee next Tuesday, Oct. 9.