Jaguars volleyball drops first conference game of season
BY MURRAY GLEFFE
SHEBOYGAN- The Ashwaubenon Jaguars girls volleyball team dropped a three-set match (25-14, 25-19, 25-15) to the Sheboygan North Golden Raiders Tuesday evening. (Oct. 9)
The loss dropped the Jaguars (7-1) into a first-place tie with the Manitowoc Ships in the FRCC.
Maria Scherer led the Jaguars with 22 assists, and Maddie Koch had 13 kills and 10 digs.
The Jaguars jumped out to an early 4-2 lead on the road behind a couple key blocks by Mabel Kirst and Allison Nitti.
That’s when the Golden Raiders kicked it into high gear on their home floor.
A couple of missed serves and miscalculated sets by Ashwaubenon helped Sheboygan North rattle off seven of the next eight points.
With the Golden Raiders up 12-7, the Jaguars missed three kills in a row to fall further behind in the opening set.
Ashwaubenon never recovered as Sheboygan North took the first set by 11 points.
“They got on a couple of those runs in the first set, and we never recovered,” said Megan Wierschke, Jaguars volleyball coach. “They hit us with high hands and fundamentally executed their sets better than us. Our back line was having a lot of trouble adjusting to the position of where their kills were landing.”
The second set started as promising as the first after Koch sent a laser onto the floor to open the scoring for the Jaguars.
A little bit later with North up 6-5, Scherer pushed a shot over that evened the set up.
Five lead changes ensued in what was easily the most competitive set of the entire match.
Late in the game with the Golden Raiders up 18-17, Elizabeth Binder and Dru Kuck each came up big with a kill and ace to lift them to set number two.
“We stayed with them in the middle set and just couldn’t win the big points when we needed to,” Wierschke said. “One more block, dig, or ace needed to happen and didn’t. Give credit to them.”
With their backs to the wall, the Jaguars knew they had to win the next two games to stay alive.
After the Jaguars again won the opening point, the Golden Raiders went on a five-point spurt.
Maddie Crowley kept Ashwaubenon in it with two kills and an ace to even the game back up (5-5) in the third set.
That would be the last tie the Jaguars would have the rest of the match.
The Golden Raiders captured nine of the next twelve points to go up 14-8 and forced the Jaguars to call its final time-out of the set.
The Jaguars did little to slow the onslaught of the Golden Raiders on senior night as they went onto easily win set number three and the match.
The Jaguars and Ships will settle the conference championship on Thursday with a winner take all scenario.
“We knew they were a good team after taking some tough losses to Bay Port and Manitowoc,” said Wierschke. “We just didn’t execute the way we are capable of doing night in and night out. We have to get back to practice tomorrow and be ready for the game versus Lincoln. It should be a great atmosphere.”