Tiger loss unleashes the animal in MHS spikers

The Merrill volleyball team took one on the chin at Marshfield last Tuesday, but the Bluejays responded with Mike Tyson-esque ferocity, albeit in a classy manner that fighter never understood.
The MHS girls decked SPASH at home on Thursday night, then KO’ed their competition in Saturday’s WVC #2 meet, starting with avenging that Tiger loss.
Merrill defeated Marshfield 25-19, 25-22, 25-23 and routed Rapids 25-17, 25-16, 25-16, before closing out the day with a 25-27, 25-11, 25-15, 25-11 triumph over D.C. Everest.
“Merrill had a great day at volleyball today,” MHS coach Steph Nelson said. “Our passing was phenomenal, we were being smart with where we were placing our balls, and we were aggressive with our serves and our hitting. It’s always nice to play well, but winning 9 out of 10 games in a day is just icing on the cake.
“It was a great confidence builder to beat Marshfield, especially after losing to them 0-3 on Tuesday; it really showed the girls that you can bounce back from a loss and to play aggressive and with passion.”
The Jays had dropped into a second-place tie in the Valley with Marshfield after Tuesday’s play, but surged ahead to 8-3 on Saturday, within a half-game of league-leading Wausau East. The Tigers and Wausau West trailed by two games before Merrill’s WVC closer with West on Tuesday.
Providing Jay contributions were: Jess Sabey (36 k, 4 ac, 17 d); Lindsay Krueger (16 k, 49 as, 3 ac, 33 d); Kaylin Byer (7 as, 9 ac, 46 d); Brittany Grosskurth (29 as, 5 ac, 14 d); Andi English (11 k, 11 as, 10 d, 2 bl); Renee Sladek (16 k, 6 d, 9 bl); Brianna Piepenbrok (11 k, 14 d); Sam Hojan (14 k, 3 d, 4 bl); Jenna Zamzow (15 d); Emily Jones (4 d).
SPASH blast
The Bluejays certainly kept their composure in Thursday’s match, fighting back from 10-5 and 11-5 deficits in the first two games to 25-23 and 25-22 wins. Then they trailed 10-6 in the third game before finally losing a 33-31 marathon. But the girls bounced back with a 25-19 match-closing triumph.
“The girls played phenomenal tonight,” Nelson said. “They worked as a team, they passed well, they were in good position and they were aggressive at the net. SPASH is a really good team, so to win tonight is a huge victory for them and a huge confidence builder. I love their fire and desire to play well and do things right. This is the team that everyone knows.”
Output was logged by: Krueger (4 k, 20 as, 13 d); Sabey (19 k, 8 d); Grosskurth (20 as, 6 d); Byer (20 d); Hojan (10 k, 3 bl); Sladek (6 k); English (4 k, 5 as); Piepenbrok (3 k, 5 d); Zamzow (8 d).
Marshfield mash
Merrill fell in straight sets, 25-22, 25-23 and 25-19.
“We played okay, but our desire was just not there,” Nelson said. “We have all the talent in the world, but one of the hardest things to coach is desire and the will to win. We just didn’t seem ready tonight, like our minds were somewhere far away from volleyball.”
Contributions came from: Sabey (10 k, 3 d); Krueger (3 k, 5 as, 4 d); Grosskurth (12 as, 4 d); Sladek (7 k, 2 bl); Byer (9 d); Hojan (5 k); English (3 as, 2 bl); Piepenbrok (4 d).

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