Improved serving, back court play has Marshfield volleyball on a roll
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield volleyball team has had its ups and downs this season, but as of late, things are again trending upward for the Tigers.
Following an 0-2 start, Marshfield has won four-straight Wisconsin Valley Conference matches and five in a row overall after beating Antigo in a nonconference matchup Tuesday.
The Tigers faced a tough early schedule, playing the likes of Merrill, Wausau Newman Catholic, De Pere, Sun Prairie, Beaver Dam and Fond du Lac in tournaments. Then Marshfield opened Wisconsin Valley Conference play with matches against Merrill and D.C. Everest.
Marshfield muddled through that stretch, going 4-1 at its home tournament and 3-5 at the Sun Prairie Invitational, but went 0-2 to start the Valley season.
After a nonconference loss at Chippewa Falls, the Tigers have lost only one game, that coming against Antigo on Tuesday, after sweeping four straight matches.
“We started off a little bit rough but we worked hard to get it back into a flow,” senior setter/hitter Ellie Fehrenbach said. “We’re in a good flow and it’s going to go well.”
The biggest improvements for the Tigers have come in the serve game, both offensively and defensively.
In a win over Wisconsin Rapids last week, Marshfield had 11 service aces, and sophomore Stephanie Rhodes had six aces alone in a sweep of Wausau West on Sept. 18.
“One of the things we’ve really been working on in practice is getting tougher serves all the way around,” Marshfield coach Dawn Sadowska said. “We’ve been struggling with that ourselves and we’ve known what that has done to us. We’re really trying to do that to other teams. Our serving has really been awesome. We’re telling them just to go after it and not worry about missing, just being aggressive.”
Defensively, a change in the lineup and rotation has helped secure the back row for the Tigers.
Junior setter Sara Dasler has moved to libero, with libero Jenny Scheppler taking on a role as a back-row specialist. Fehrenbach slid into a part-time role as setter, sharing the duties with sophomore Anna Ripp. Both Fehrenbach and Ripp are also solid hitters, giving the Tigers versatility when both are on the court.
Dasler missed the match against Rapids with an injury, but Sadowska said she is excited to see the lineup progress when she returns. Dasler had 23 digs in the win over Antigo.
“What’s nice about it is when we have Sara back, it puts her and Jenny in the back row,” Sadowska said. “That’s going to help us even more getting the ball to our setters.”
The Tigers will play at the always-tough Neenah Invitational on Saturday before finishing out the conference season over the next two weeks.
Remaining Marshfield volleyball schedule
Sat., Oct. 4 at Neenah Invitational
Thur., Oct. 9 at Wausau East
Sat., Oct. 11 Wisconsin Valley Conference Meet No. 2 at Merrill (will play Merrill, Wausau West, & Wisconsin Rapids)
Tue., Oct. 14 at D.C. Everest
Thur., Oct. 16 Stevens Point at Marshfield
Thur., Oct. 23 WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal, TBA
Sat., Oct. 25 WIAA Division 1 regional final, TBA
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).