By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield volleyball team kept its hopes of another Wisconsin Valley Conference title alive with a 3-0 sweep of Wausau East on Thursday night at Marshfield High School.
The Tigers 25-12, 25-8, 25-20, to improve to 5-2 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference to remain in shouting distance of D.C. Everest (6-0), which was off on Thursday. Wausau East is now 0-7.
Marshfield started slow in the first set, falling behind 5-1, before taking control.
Casey Frankland served eight-straight points, with Abby Ongna and Caitlyn Pernsteiner each having two kills, to push the Tigers to a 10-5 lead. East was never closer than six points the rest of the way.
Rylee Corteen added two kills as Marshfield finished off the set with a 25-12 win.
“I thought we started out a little slow,” Marshfield coach Dawn Sadowska said. “We’ve been tending to do that and I don’t know what’s going on there, but we always seem to come back and win. That’s a positive, but I’d like to see us jump on teams a little bit faster.”
“The mental part of that, making those mistakes, they could have went in the tank making those four hitting errors in a row, and they didn’t. They picked it up and that’s a positive. With a young team, only one senior out there, they were able to push through that and win the first set, and then second one more handily, that’s good.”
The second set was back-and-forth early as both teams had a number of errors. Marshfield led 9-7 after a sideout before Ashlyn Barwick stepped up to serve, and immediately turned the set in favor of the Tigers.
The sophomore libero, playing in place of Elise Uphoff, served 11 points in a row, four coming on service aces, and give the Tigers a 20-7 lead.
After a sideout by East, Marshfield quickly finished off the match with five-straight points, two on kills by Pernsteiner, who finished with seven in the match.
“Ashlyn’s a great server and it’s one of the reasons we’ve kept her in there as a DS (defensive specialist) anyway,” Sadowska said. “She’s had to step in and take a little more pressure on her shoulders. This was a good test for her.”
Marshfield pulled out to a 12-6 lead in the third set before East mounted a comeback.
Back-to-back aces by Makenzi Gale, and kills by Sage McKeough and Savannah Spees, brought the Lumberjacks to within 13-12.
The match was tied at 16-16 before Marshfield slowly pulled away. Three kills by Ongna, who had a team-high eight, helped the Tigers finish off a 25-20 win and complete the sweep.
Reinya Balderson had a team-high 23 assists, Frankland finished with six kills and eight digs, and Barwick had eight digs to go with her four aces for the Tigers.
Marshfield will compete at the Lodi Invitational on Saturday before returning to WVC action Oct. 7 at Stevens Point. Wausau East is off until Oct. 9 when the second conference meet takes place at Merrill.