By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – A strong start was just what the Marshfield volleyball team needed to capitalize on a strong performance last week.
After winning three straight Wisconsin Valley Conference matches last Thursday and Saturday, the Tigers ripped out to a 14-2 lead in the opening game Thursday against Wisconsin Rapids and never looked back, sweeping the Raiders 3-0.
Marshfield won 25-13, 25-12, 25-16, and is now 4-2, while Rapids drops to 0-6.
The Tigers scored the first six points of Game 1 on the serve of Ellie Fehrenbach, and eventually went up 11-1 and 14-2. Marueen Cassidy had three aces and Stephanie Rhodes added a kill and an ace in the rally.
Rhodes had two kills and Anna Ripp had a block kill to finish off a 25-13 win.
“After those three wins, we wanted them to play like they did last week and take charge of the match, and they did that,” Marshfield coach Dawn Sadowska said. “They stayed focused and did what we needed to do.”
The second game was tighter at the start, but another Marshfield rally midway through turned the tables in its favor.
Leading 9-7, Marshfield earned a sideout and then ripped off eight points in a row on the serve of Natalie Zuelke.
Lauren Gilbertson had two kills to give the Tigers to a 25-12 win.
“It was really good getting ahead (early) and it makes it a lot easier to talk and communicate when you’re ahead,” said senior Ellie Fehrenbach, who had a team-high 13 assists. “When you get pumped up and get that intensity, it’s nice.”
Rapids found its rhythm for a while in Game 3. A kill by Haley Ginter and an ace from Victoria Hansen knotted the score at 9-9, and the Raiders stayed close before Marshfield rallied yet again.
Marshfield led 16-15 when it got a sideout and then finished off a 6-0 run with the help of four aces by Kayla Kluge to pull away, and eventually finished it off 25-16.
Rhodes had nine kills, Ripp had 12 assists and five kills, Jenny Scheppler had 11 digs and Zuelke added 10 for the Tigers.
“You can’t take anybody lightly,” Fehrenbach said. “It can be anybody’s game. Our serving helped us these games and it was a really good win to have.”
Marshfield hosts Antigo in a nonconference match Tuesday at 7 p.m.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).