T-Birds open conference play
Iola-Scandinavia volleyball team drops four matches
By Greg Seubert
A short-handed Iola-Scandinavia volleyball team dropped four of its five matches Sept. 12 at the Auburndale Invitational.
Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds came up short in their first two Central Wisconsin-8 Conference matches to Shiocton and Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
AUBURNDALE – The T-Birds fell to Auburndale (9-25, 5-25), Prentice (22-25, 18-25), Spencer (12-25, 7-25) and Stratford (15-25, 9-25) before beating Pittsville (25-20, 21-25. 15-11).
“Four of our starters we unable to play at Auburndale, which is a tough tournament with top competition each year,” coach Jessica Wennesberg said. “However, the day gave junior varsity players Karina Finch, Quinn Hoyord and Amie Smith the opportunity to experience competition at the varsity level.
“We didn’t win much on the day, but the scores aren’t reflective of the effort and the progress that the girls made as the day went on,” she said. “We were able to end the day with a nice win over Pittsville that we took to the third set. Because of the lineup changes we needed to make for the day, several players were able to show me what they have and I’m excited to try some new things given what I saw. Most impressive to me was how seniors Karly Honken and Sage Willems worked the back row. They faced pounding jump serves all day and handled them with skill.”
Shiocton 3, I-S 0
SHIOCTON – The Chiefs swept the T-Birds 21-25, 11-25, 13-25 Sept. 10.
“Thursday against Shiocton was a tough loss to say the least,” Wennesberg said. “We started flat and simply couldn’t get anything going. After playing so well two nights before, it was frustrating to see the girls struggle as they did. The errors made are uncharacteristic. We simply want to put the night behind us and move forward.”
W-B 3, I-S 1
IOLA – The T-Birds opened CWC-8 play Sept. 8 by handing the Chargers a 25-11 loss in the first game, but W-B came back to win the next three sets, 19-25, 24-26, 20-25.
“I was proud of the level of play we sustained against Wittenberg,” Wennesberg said. “We knew they’d be tough by the caliber of teams they’d already faced this season, but we stuck with them the entire night and never gave up. We came out particularly strong with a 25-11 win in the first set, but despite all our effort, couldn’t finish the next three.”
Kaylin Ellioff led the team with four aces, 10 kills and three solo blocks.
“She did a great job finding the open spots on hits and tips and took advantage of them,” Wennesberg said. “Senior libero Jayden Podgorny led the team with 26 digs and kept us in the sets with her tough serve reception.”
The T-Birds hosted Amherst Sept. 15 and will head to Manawa Thursday, Sept. 17, for a 7:30 p.m. CWC-8 matchup with the Wolves.