The first week of school corresponds with the first week of conference play for the Central Wisconsin Conference volleyball teams.
For the Manawa Wolves this meant a home match against the Stevens Point Pacelli Cardinals on the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 4, and traveling to Iola-Scandinavia to face off against the Thunderbirds on Thursday, Sept. 6.
The Wolves knew that Pacelli was going to be a very good volleyball team. Many of their players have started Varsity since they were sophomores and they are now seniors. Their amount of varsity experience greatly surpasses the varsity experience of our Lady Wolves and that was a huge deciding factor in the outcome of the match.
In set one the Cardinals served first, but the Wolves were able to quickly earn a side out. Early in the set Manawa led by one or two points. With the score 5 to 4 in the Wolves favor, Pacelli earned a side out, tying the score at 5. Their next server put 4 service points on the board, including an ace, and Manawa was never able to catch up after that. Pacelli quickly pulled away, earning 3 to 5 points on each of the next 4 servers. The set ended 25-11.
In set number two Manawa really struggled to get any offense started. In the entire game they only earned 1 offensive points, their other points came on side outs. Pacelli on the other hand, was rolling. Their offense was hitting hard and their servers had 4 aces. The second set was finished quickly, 25-6.
The final set was much like the 2nd. Lady Wolf, Wendy Kons, was able to put the longest offensive run together. She served points 5 to 8, with 2 of her serves being aces. Pacelli was just too tough for Manawa though, the set, and match, finished 25-10.
Ansley Block led the Manawa Wolves with 4 points while Lexie Sell and Kons had 2 and Kali Young, Breana Haines and Aubrie Millard each had 1. Sell had 7 assists for the night and 10 digs. Nicki Cady also had 10 digs. Kons was the service leader, serving 6-6 while Young and Block were also 100% from the service line, serving 3-3.
In their second match of the week Manawa faced off against the Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbirds. The Wolves knew that this would be a good competition, with both teams playing the same level of volleyball.
In the first set Manawa Started off slow, missing serves and playing little offense. With the score 7 to 9 in the Thunderbirds favor, Kons stepped up to serve and her team put 6 points on the board, taking the first lead of the set. Unfortunately, I-S answered with 6 points of their own. Manawa tried to play catch up the rest of the set but couldn’t get closer than 3 points. The T-Birds took set one 25-20.
Set two looked better for the Wolves until T-Bird, Lidia Frias, stepped up to serve. She served 5 points in a row, putting I-S up 8 to 5. Lady Wolf, Baylee Gorges, answered Frias’ run, serving 5 in a row, 2 of which were aces. With the teams tied at 10, defense became very important. The girls played, back and forth, for the next couple of rotations, tying the game again at 15 and 17. Unfortunately, Frias put another run together on her second service rotation and the T-Birds took a 22 to 17 lead. Manawa couldn’t close the gap and the set finished once again, 25-20, Iola-Scandinavia.
The final set was the closest of the night. In the first 6 rotations both teams combined only scored 6 offensive points. As the teams prepared for their second round of serving the score was 10 to 7 in Iola’s favor. Defense continued to remain important throughout the second service round. Before the setters served for their 3rd time the score was 20 to 18, T-Birds. The teams stayed within 2 to 3 points of each other right up until the end. Because they led early, Iola was able to finish the set, and match, 25-22.
Senior outside hitter, Megan O’Brien, led the Wolves with 9 points. The other outside hitter, Breana Haines, had 5 while setter, Lexie Sell had 4.5. Other point contributors included: Gorges (4 – all aces), Ansley Block (4), Kali Young (2.5), and Aubrie MIllard (1). O’Brien also led her team on defense with 12 digs while Sell had 10, along with 13 assists. The Wolves struggled from the service line against Iola-Scandinavia. No team member was 100 percent from the line. The entire match was decided by 12 points and the Wolves missed 13 serves.