Marshfield volleyball rallies to beat Eau Claire Memorial in WIAA Division 1 regional final
Tigers to face D.C. Everest in sectional semifinal
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield volleyball team had its back to the wall, but the veteran group of Tigers was not to be denied.
Trailing 2-1, Marshfield rallied to win the last two sets to defeat Eau Claire Memorial in a WIAA Division 1 regional final Saturday night at Marshfield High School.
The Tigers won 25-10, 16-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-12 to move on to the D-1 sectional semifinal against D.C. Everest on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Stevens Point Area Senior High. The other sectional semifinal will follow with Eau Claire North playing River Falls. The two semifinal winners will play in a sectional final at Chippewa Falls on Oct. 29.
“A lot of it was our serve receive, and we knew we could do it better than that,” Marshfield coach Dawn Sadowska said. “They had to believe they could do it and talk with one another. Once they started helping each other out, our hitters got things going, and it made things a lot easier for us. They were communicating a lot better and shaking things off.”
Anna Ripp served 10 points in a row as the Tigers pulled away to win the first set, but the momentum was short lived.
Marshfield struggled with its serve receive in Game 2 and never got on track. Memorial built a 9-4 lead, and after the Tigers closed to within 12-11 after two kills by Alexa Aumann, Memorial ripped off 13 of the final 18 points to even the match.
The Tigers’ struggles continued in Game 3 as Emma Fentress served eight points in a row to give Memorial an 18-5 advantage on its way to the 13-point win.
Marshfield had to make adjustments to Memorial’s blocking game, which was holding the Tigers at bay on the front line.
“I definitely had to change up (setting) the hitters because they know that Rhodes and Alexa are definitely our top two,” Ripp said. “As long as we use all three hitters, we were able to move things around.”
The Tigers responded in the fourth set. Two kills by Aumann got the ball rolling, putting Marshfield up 11-8. After Memorial closed to within two, Stephanie Rhodes had a block kill and an ace to spark a 10-5 run to close out the game and force a do-or-die fifth set.
Memorial led 11-10 in the fifth, and after a timeout, the Tigers came out determined. Ripp set up Aumann for a kill to tie it andthen followed with an ace. After a sideout, Aumann, Jamila Ougayour, and Rhodes had kills to end the match.
Ripp finished with 41 assists, Aumann had 20 kills, Rhodes had 22 digs and 11 kills, and Maureen Cassidy had 32 digs for the Tigers.
Marshfield will face Wisconsin Valley Conference champion D.C. Everest in the sectional semifinals. Everest beat the Tigers in the sectional final last year and twice during the regular season this fall. Sadowska said the Tigers are playing much better in the past few weeks and hopes they have a chance to pull off the upset.
“We need to not give them as many free balls as we did last time,” Sadowska said. “We struggled a little bit with serve receive, but I think in the last week and a half or two weeks we’ve done a good job of speeding up our offense, so that will help us. Our serving seems to be aggressive again. We have to go after them.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)