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Plum City volleyball takes advantage of SV's inconsistent play

Spring Valley tries to defend against a Maddie Schellhas attack in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference game on Thursday, Oct. 5. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia

Plum City volleyball was able to get their second win of the season while the Spring Valley Cardinals had to add one more game to the losing column of their record after the two teams faced off on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The matchup ended with a 3-1 victory for the Blue Devils who are now mid-ranked in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. After losing 0-3 to Elk Mound on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and chalking up another loss two nights later, Spring Valley had made its way to the lower half of the conference.

Spring Valley took a 2-0 lead to start the first set of the night, but Plum City answered with a 7-0 run led by the superior net play of Maddie Schellhas. The Cardinals would get within two points of their conference foes at 11-13, but an 8-3 Blue Devil run set the tone for the rest of the set, which ended with a final score of 25-16 in Plum City's favor.

The second set started off much closer than the first with many lead switches, but Plum City was able to pull away due to unforced hitting errors from the Cardinals being unable to put their attacks in play.

Spring Valley head coach Geoff Snyder made some lineup changes and brought Rachel Fesenmaier into the game, but his team still continued to send their attacks way past the out-of-bounds lines. When the Cardinals did manage to get a sideout, the Blue Devils set up senior middle hitter Ellie Funk to regain the serve and ultimately win the set 25-19. Funk finished with 13 kills in the match, leading the category for the Blue Devils by a landslide.

Spring Valley looked like a different team in the third set of the night. The Cardinals livened up with two kills from Lexi Johansen and two Mataya Kado service aces. Plum City tried to switch things up by sending tips past Spring Valley's middle blocker, but Spring Valley responded with all Cardinals diving on the floor to keep the ball alive. Coach Snyder's team was finally showing him their impeccable tip coverage that he had been waiting for all night.

Snyder's team would go on to win the third set 25-11, but their worst offensive set of the night was yet to come.

Plum City got off to a 5-1 lead early in the game behind three service aces from Schellhas that were all sent to the mid-center of the court. Schellhas' serving gave the Blue Devils the momentum they needed after losing the third set, and she led her team with five aces in total.

The Cardinals showed some signs of life with more Johansen kills sent deep to Plum City's back row, but once Spring Valley got within five points at 19-14, the Blue Devils went on a 6-0 run to win the set and match.

Plum City head coach Marah Boyer said her team's strategy coming into the conference match was to play their game.

"We've really been focused on ourselves, and we just need to play our game and it'll take care of itself," Boyer said.

Boyer commended the play of her two captains, Funk and Tayler Whipple. While Funk led the Blue Devils, Whipple took over in the back row with 20 digs.

Boyer said her team will continue to work on building up their confidence to finish the 2017 season.

Snyder was a little less pleased with his team's effort than Boyer was.

"We had a lot of glimpses of really really good stuff," Snyder said. "It's just carrying that out throughout the entire game that we struggled with."

Snyder pointed out how young his team is with five sophomores hitting and a junior setter running the team's offense.

"When we have a young team, it's kind of hard to maintain the consistency we need throughout the game," Snyder said.

Before his team's only set victory of the night, Snyder told his team that they just had to want it. "It's all a matter of do they want it and how bad are they willing to work for it," Snyder said. "They wanted it that third set, and I saw that."

Snyder was pleased with how Johansen reacted to his lineup changes during the game, and thought she stepped up as an outside hitter. The sophomore who typically hits from the middle led Spring Valley with 12 kills. Johansen also recorded three solo blocks in the match.

Fesenmaier who showed her poise when she was brought into the game while her team was losing contributed three aces, leading her team in the category. She and Camryn Wegener led the Cardinals with 13 digs apiece.

The Cardinals will have another chance to prove how much they "want it" on Thursday, Oct. 12 when they play the .500 Durand Panthers at home in their last game of the regular season.