By Joshua Staloch
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Preble volleyball team defeated Pulaski in a Fox River Classic Conference home match in five sets (25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 17-25, 15-12) Sept. 26.
The first set came down to the wire before Preble’s Megan Loritz killed one down the left sideline at to close the set.
“Our energy level was high for most of the night, a few lulls aside,” said Preble head coach Brian Van Den Plas. “Give credit to Pulaski – they were hitting well. We’re a bit inconsistent, but this is our third conference match of the year and they’ve all gone five games. I thought we handled it well.”
The second set saw Pulaski turn things around, opening up a 10-3 lead and forcing the Hornets to call a timeout following a kill from Danielle McQuillan which made it 18-10.
Pulaski errors and big offensive play at the net from Preble’s Grace Perret (14 kills) and Loritz got the home team back in to within 22-19 before the Red Raiders regained their early-set composure.
Up 17-9 in the third, Pulaski was in line to take a 2-1 lead overall, but the Hornets got momentum-shifting blocks upfront from Amber VandeHei and Taylor Raduenz (10 kills).
The Red Raiders pushed the score to 20-14 on a crafty shot from freshman Madelyn Agen, only to see Preble fight back to 24-23 thanks to a block from VandeHei.
Following a Pulaski timeout at 24 all, VandeHei (14 kills) went back to work and closed out the set with two consecutive points off kills, the second coming on a cross-court hit.
Set four was neck-and-neck until Agen closed the frame with an ace and tie the match at two games apiece.
Pulaski did well to start the deciding frame with a flurry of solid play to open up a 7-3 lead, but the Hornets got back into it from the strong serving of Melody Siudzinski.
With the score knotted at 7, Perret got the momentum back on Preble’s side for good with a big kill for a 10-8 lead before VandeHei finished things off with a pair of kills.
“I’m definitely proud of the way we played,” said Pulaski head coach Bethani Thibodeau. “I saw progression from the start of the match to the end. Even though we couldn’t put it together in game five, you could see how we were moving better and working hard from the first game until the end. We got more confidence in ourselves as the match went on.”