Panthers sweep Bucs, 3-0
New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (NRHEG) brought the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers’ volleyball season to an end last Monday evening. The Panthers won three straight games to advance to the finals in Sub-Section 2.
Led by sophomore sensation Anna Schlaak, who had a game-high 20 kills, the Panthers won by scores of 25-20, 25-13, 25-13.
“It’s always bittersweet to have the season come to an end,” comments Bucs mentor Donna Nawrocki. “NRHEG has a very nice team, they are very quick and very athletic.”
The host Panthers got off to a fast start in game one as they took a 6-0 lead before the Bucs could force a side out to get on the board.
Trailing 9-5, the Bucs went on an 11-3 run to take a 16-12 lead and force the Panthers to call a time out to try and regroup. Regroup they did, as they proceeded to outscore the Bucs 13-4 to win the first game.
Game two once again started with the Panthers getting off to a fast start. They scored the first four points of the game on their way to building a 10-point margin at 13-3. Although the Bucs mounted a comeback, the deficit was more than they could overcome, as they fell 25-13.
It seemed to be all Schlaak in game three as the powerful hitter pounded the Bucs with thunderous kills. The Panthers controlled the final game, only trailing 1-0 before taking the lead for good for another 25-13 win.
“We appreciated all of the fan support,” notes Nawrocki. “It was a fantastic atmosphere. This is a great bunch of girls who worked hard all year.”
Leading the Bucs in kills were Kate Hassing and Sydney Ristau with five each. Jenny Smith was a perfect 13 of 13 serving with seven points while Morgan Dickman was 7 of 7 for five points.
Katie Krieger had two ace blocks, Smith had 20 digs and Ashley Olson added nine digs. Dickman added 10 set assists followed by Olson with five.
The Bucs finish their season with an overall 15-12 record and as champions of the South Central Conference with an 8-2 record. The team will lose six seniors off of this year’s squad. They are Mariah Cooke, Carrie Stebakken, Kate Hassing, Morgan Dickman, Theresa Claeys, and Hayley Pirsig.