The week of September 6th marked the start of Central Wisconsin Conference play in volleyball. The Lady Wolves hosted two home matches on Tuesday and Thursday of that week. On Tuesday, they played against the Bears of Bonduel and they matched up against the Pacelli Cardinals on Thursday.
Manawa vs. Bonduel
The Bonduel Bears and Manawa Wolves were very evenly matched when they faced off against one another. In the first set of the match, the teams played back-and-forth early in the game. By the end of one full rotation the Bears were only leading 10-9. On each team’s next possession they each only earned their rally point, keeping the game close at 11-10. It wasn’t until the Bear’s Taylor Welcing stepped up to serve for her second time that Bonduel really took control. They earned seven points in one rally, making the score 18-10. When the Wolves’ libero Ashley Remington served, they tried to bring the game closer, scoring four points in a row. This cut the Bear’s lead to three. That would be the closest the set would get after that. Bonduel won the first game 25-18.
The second set was an even closer game. As has been a problem in the recent past, missed serves plagued the Wolves, giving Bonduel four easy points. Makayla Johnson and Kali Draeger were the only two servers for Manawa to be 100 percent from the line in this game. Those missed serves were the difference in the set, allowing Bonduel to win 25-22.
Knowing that a loss in the third set would be the end of the match, the Lady Wolves stepped onto the court with new determination. With great offensive help from her team, the Wolves’ first server Krista Braun was able to bring her team to five points before Bonduel even earned one. They spread their lead to 9-2 when Ali Dean served second in the lineup. Being ahead early in the set allowed Manawa to breeze to an easy 25-19 victory.
The fourth set was the last of the night. Manawa came onto the court with slow feet and were unable to get a pass up off of Bonduel’s Abby Reinke’s serve. By the time Reinke was done serving, Bonduel was up 12-0. This deficit was too much for the Wolves and the Bears won the set and match, 25-11.
Senior outside hitter Ali Dean had a good match for the Wolves. She had eight points which included three aces, three kills and three solo blocks. She also served 19-of-21 and led her team with 22 digs. MaryKay Heinz was the point leader for Manawa. She had 17.5 points with 15 kills and 2.5 blocks. Other point contributors included: Aimee Drath 10, Kali Draeger 6, Krista Braun 5, Kayla Johnson 2.5, Makayla Johnson 1, and Ashley Remington 1. Braun did a great job of setting her team up for kills. She had 26 out of the teams 31 assists for the night. She also had 17 digs. Remington played good defense with 18 digs and M. Johnson was the only team member to be 100 percent from the service line, serving 12-of-12.
Manawa vs. Pacelli
The Lady Wolves knew that Pacelli was going to be tough competition, and that definitely proved true.
In the first set of the night, Pacelli’s tough offense kept Manawa from gaining any true momentum. Without feeling like they could really get into the swing of things, Manawa missed four serves and allowed Pacelli a quick 25-14 win. Dean showed her true team leadership in this set. Though the Wolves were down the entire game, she played with 100 percent effort. She dug the ball up six times and had two kills for the game.
The second set was not much better for the Wolves. They were unable to score more than one rally point at any time in this set. Though they struggled on offense, their defense was strong. Only once in the game did they allow the Cardinals to score more than two offensive points with any given server. Tough defense cannot win sets though, especially with rally scoring. The Pacelli Cardinals won the second set 25-13.
Manawa finally found a spark in the final set of the night. They stepped up their offense, even going on a four-point run when Ashley Remington was serving. The Lady Wolves also had five different team members score points in this game, more than any other previous set. Unfortunately, the Cardinals had too much momentum in their favor. They finished the match 25-19.
Aimee Drath, the team’s junior outside hitter, was the leading point scorer for the Wolves. She had seven points with four of her kills coming in the second set. MaryKay Heinz was right behind her with six points, two of which were solo blocks. Other point contributors included: Krista Braun 4, Kali Draeger 4, Dean 3, Kayla Johnson 1. Dean led her team with 13 digs for the match and Braun had eight assists. Remington and Megan O’Brien were each 100 percent from the serving line, serving 10 and 9 serves each, respectively.