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Volleyball: Blue Devils' improvements not enough

Mikinzie Ingli and Halli Martin attempt a right side block in the Plum City Blue Devils' 3-0 loss to the Boyceville Bulldogs on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Shyla LaPorte sends a right side attack over to the Boyceville Bulldogs on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Halli Martin jousts at the net with two Bulldogs on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Plum City's 3-0 loss to Boyceville. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

The Plum City Blue Devils have shown some distinct improvements over the course of the season, but those improvements have yet to allow the Blue Devils to capitalize on their first win.

Plum City (0-21, 0-7) came close to claiming its first Dunn-St. Croix set win against the Boyceville Bulldogs (8-15, 3-4) on Tuesday, Oct. 9, but were ultimately defeated 3-0 with set losses of 25-20, 25-19 and 25-12.

The Blue Devils held their own against the Bulldogs in Set 1 with superior back row play from McKenzie Raethke, strong setting from Olivia Miller and an ace from Paige Benson, which allowed Plum City to take a 17-16 lead late in the set, but the Bulldogs closed the set on a 9-3 run with two kills from Hannah Johnson, two aces from Chesney Leslie and a number of Plum City digging errors. Plum City's three final points of Set 1 came from two Bulldog errors and a Shyla LaPorte right side kill.

The Set 1 loss seemed to affect the Blue Devils' early Set 2 play as they allowed the Bulldogs to take a 7-1 lead before coach Geoffrey Snyder called his first timeout of the set. Out of the timeout, the Blue Devils responded with a right side kill from Vanessa Seipel, but soon found themselves down 11-4 with three of their four points coming from Bulldog serving errors.

Before the set got completely out of hand, the Blue Devils found their stride with two outside kills from Halli Martin and assisted blocks from Seipel, Mikinzie Ingli and Miller.

Down 18-17, the Blue Devils evened the playing field with an assisted block from Ingli and LaPorte, but the Bulldogs were once again able to put together a winning run to claim a 25-19 Set 2 win, and only gave up one final point to the Blue Devils on an illegal lift.

Plum City took a 1-0 lead in Set 3 with another Benson ace, but it was the Bulldogs' game from there on out. Boyceville climbed to another seven-point lead with aces from Ana Evenson, Kady Grambow and Jaida Peterson before Plum City found a much-needed sideout from an Ingli middle kill. The Blue Devils were unable to put together a four-point run for the rest of the night, and sealed the DSC matchup with a hitting error that gave the Bulldogs' their 25th set point and the 3-0 sweep.

"I think we just need more energy and need to pull together as a team more," Miller said after her team's loss. "Then I think we could get our first win."

Miller said that she and her teammates will continue to work hard in practice as they continue their search for their first win of the season.

"It is frustrating, but at the end of the day I'm still happy to be playing volleyball."

The Blue Devils will travel to Colfax (22-5, 7-0) on Thursday, Oct. 11, to face the top DSC team in their final regular season game of the year.