Hitting the reset button
Despite a disappointing regular season, Marshfield volleyball’s playoff chances are alive and well
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The regular season did not end the way the Marshfield volleyball team had hoped, but the WIAA playoffs are a whole new season, and the Tigers are prepared to make some noise again.
Marshfield went to the WIAA Division 1 sectional final last year and came into this season with aspirations of getting past that and making it all the way to the state tournament.
A change in the Tigers’ frontline personnel early in the season was a step back, but the team has rebounded and played better as of late.
Despite losing to the top two teams — D.C. Everest and Merrill — at the second Wisconsin Valley Conference tournament on Oct. 8, Marshfield is hoping its improved overall play will continue in the postseason. Marshfield finished off its conference schedule Tuesday with a 3-0 win at Stevens Point to end up 7-5 in the Valley, and it swept Antigo in nonconference match Thursday. The Division 1 playoffs begin Oct. 20.
“We were up and down in our serve receive, and we talked about cleaning up those errors, getting out of some of our ruts faster, and as a team we’ve been doing that,” veteran Marshfield coach Dawn Sadowska said.
“I keep telling them every day that I believe in them. I think our problem at times is that we don’t believe in ourselves. We hang on to mistakes too long, but we’re working on that, trying to loosen up a little bit more,” she added.
Five senior starters highlight the roster for the Tigers. Stephanie Rhodes, who surpassed the 1,000-kill plateau for her career in a win on Oct. 6 against Wisconsin Rapids, is the team’s top hitter and defensive digs leader. Libero Maureen Cassidy has also been a leader on defense, Anna Ripp is the team’s top setter, and Alexa Aumann and Jamila Ougayour have added stability to the front line.
Ripp, who passed the 2,000-assist mark for her career last month, has also been one of the top servers for the Tigers.
“The combination between Stephanie and Anna has been such a nice thing to have for us,” Sadowska said. “When you’ve been successful and been on varsity for that long (since they were freshmen), and this is it, there’s a little more pressure that they put on themselves. When they just play, they have fun, and enjoy playing together, they can do great things.”