Plum City volleyball advances but not easilyA good fight put up by Gilmanton and inconsistent play by the Plum City High School volleyball team made the Blue Devils 3-1 win in the first round of the WIAA Division 4 regional volleyball tournament Tuesday harder than expected for a No. 2 seed pitted against a No. 7
PLUM CITY - A good fight put up by Gilmanton and inconsistent play by the Plum City High School volleyball team made the Blue Devils 3-1 win in the first round of the WIAA Division 4 regional volleyball tournament Tuesday harder than expected for a No. 2 seed pitted again a No. 7.
PC jumped to a 7-1 lead in Game 1 only to see the Panthers, who finished 2-7 in the Dairyland Conference, come all the way back to take an 19-18 lead. The home team eventually rallied to win Game 1 by a 25-20 score after several vicious kills by Marah Boyer, who led her team with 15 for the match, plus a block by Heather Von Holtum, who had three in the contest.
Plum City got off to a slow start in Game 2 but libero Ashley Longsdorf's serving plus kills from Boyer and poor serving from the Panthers gave the Devils a 25-14 win, seemingly on their way to clocking out early.
But Gilmanton had other ideas. After a Von Holtum kill in Game 3, one of her eight, put PC ahead 9-7, the Panthers outscored them 17-9. Kills from Karissa Davis and Brittany Laehn plus PC's own errors turned the contest around and Blue Devil head coach Nanette Murray can pinpoint the reason why.
"Lack of communication," Murray said. "It's something we've struggled all season. Even when we win we will have moments like we had tonight where we don't talk and players get out of position all trying too hard to make plays on their own instead of working together as a team. They get frustrated when things go wrong and the situation only gets worse."
To change this, Murray decided to bring players from off the bench for Game 4, reasoning that if the starters weren't talking to each other, they would at least have to start talking if there were reserves going into the match to make they knew what they were doing. Thus junior reserve Brittany Estabrooks, who wasn't expecting to play in the match, got the call to go in and confirmed her coach's hunch.
"Yes, the starters were telling me where to go and what to do and we were talking more." Estabrooks said.
Estabrooks also provided a run of service points which pushed a tight 14-13 lead by PC into a working 18-13 advantage thanks to a pair of Boyer kills and an ace by Estabrooks. Kills by Boyer, Von Holtum, and Elaina Danzinger helped the Devils win Game 4 by a 24-18 score.
"Our defense stepped up and played better and our serving was solid as well," Murray said. "But if we're going to generate more offense be more balanced we need to have better passing and that goes to communication again. Hopefully, we've learned our lesson as we moved on in the tournament but its frustrating when we steal deal with the same problem every match. Yet it's good to know our best match is still inside us, waiting to come out and we'll have to let out if we want to win this tournament."
PC will play Alma at home Thursday. The Rivermen were 3-2 upset winners over Pepin as a No. 6 seed on Tuesday.