By Paul Lecker
For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – The 2019 Wisconsin Valley Conference volleyball season is in its infancy and the match Thursday night between Marshfield and Wausau East showed it could be a wild ride through conference play.
Wausau East and Marshfield alternated wins before the Lumberjacks pulled out a dominating fifth-set victory and took the match 3-2 at the Boson Company Fieldhouse at Marshfield High School.
East won 25-20, 16-25, 25-22,20-25, 15-9, to improve to 2-0 in the WVC. Marshfield falls to 1-1.
Marshfield jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the first set only to see East rally. Back-to-back service aces from Kendra Behnke gave the Lumberjacks a 15-11 lead, and they pushed their advantage to 23-14 after two kills from Taylor Pagel.
Marshfield tried to mount a comeback, getting as close as 24-20 after Bailey Matis served five points in a row, but a block kill from Emma Dehel ended the set for East.
The Tigers carried the momentum from the end of the first set into the second, taking a commanding 11-3 lead as Lindsey Steffen had three kills, including a block.
Marshfield led by at least five the rest of the game, and closed out the 25-16 win on the serve of Steffen. Who finished with five kills in the set.
As crisp as the Tigers played in Game 2, East turned the tables in Game 3.
After trading points early, East broke a 7-7 tie by scoring 10 of the next 12 points, which included three aces from Behnke.
Marshfield again made a late rally, scoring seven-straight points to get within one at 22-21, but East was able to hold on for a 25-22 win.
Leading 15-14, Marshfield earned a sideout and scored six points in a row on Matis’ serve to take control of the fourth set.
East closed to within 22-20 before Steffen had a kill for a sideout, and Taylor Barwick had two kills to finish off a 25-20 win, and force a fifth and deciding set.
East scored the first six points, pushed it to 10-2 after three kills from Pagel and were able to keep the Tigers at bay to win 15-9.
Pagel finished with 19 kills and Grace Stimac had 15 kills for the Lumberjacks.
Steffen had 18 kills, Johnson had 27 digs, Kati Sadowska added 21 digs, and Matis and Barwick split setting duties, finishing with 19 and 18 assists, respectively, for Marshfield.
Marshfield will host all seven Wisconsin Valley Conference teams for the first of two conference tournaments on Saturday at Marshfield High School.