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VB falls to Wisner

August 31, 2018

The Schuyler Central High School Lady Warriors volleyball team opened their season against the Wisner-Pilger Gators on Thursday and quickly found out why the visitors were listed as “Contenders” for top ten honors for Class C-1 in the Lincoln Journal Star pre-season ratings.

Wisner-Pilger rolled to a 3-0 set win over the Lady Warriors racking up set scores of 25-14, 25-11, and 25-8.

With four returning starters in Maria Semerad, Kinzie Petersen, Reagan Folda, and Rachel Shonka, and a fired up opening match student body behind them, the Lady Warriors entered the match in search of victory number one. The Gators had other ideas however.

SCHS head coach Jenna Saalfeld commented on her team’s early action: “I thought that the girls came out strong from the beginning but once they made a few mistakes they lost their momentum and never really got it back. Throughout the game they did make some great plays and have some great saves, but we struggled to finish a play.”

Wisner-Pilger was overpowering at the net, and their strength was evidenced by the fact that they had 33 kills to 11 for Schuyler Central and recorded 8 blocks compared to only three for the Lady Warriors.

The Gator’s 6-0 outside hitter, Jordan Wegner, was a force to be reckoned with as she recorded 17 kills to lead W-P. 6-1 junior middle hitter Rachel Otten added 6 kills, and 5-9 junior hitter Aspin Waterman also had 6 kills in the match. Maria Semerad paced Schuyler with four kills while Rachel Shonka added three.

Otten led the visitors with 6 blocks while Shonka and Reagan Folda each had three for the Lady Warriors.

Though the Lady Warriors struggled at the net, coach Saalfeld recognized a couple areas of strength that she was pleased with.

“I thought we passed well on serve receive and our setters did a great job of trying to get a good set off for our hitters,” she said.

In Set 1, the Lady Warriors battled the Lady Gators on even terms taking a 5-4 lead on a kill by Shonka.

W-P went on a 9-2 run to grab a 13-7 lead and quiet the raucous home crowd. SCHS closed the gap to 13-9 but that was as close as they would get.

Otten and Wegner continued their dominant play at the net to streak to a 20-10 lead, but Schuyler made one last push and cut the score to 21-13 when Emily Hatterman drilled a hit into the net. The Lady Gators quickly regained the momentum and ended the match when Waterman dropped a dink over the net to close out the first set 25-14 victory.

Entering the second set it was obvious that the Lady Warriors were going to have to do a better job of attacking the net instead of playing back on their heels.

In the second set, the Lady Gators scored the first two points and never trailed in sailing to the 25-12 win. Schuyler managed to cut the early deficit to 5-3 on a kill by Shonka but W-P went on a 12-4 run to build a 16-7 lead when Schuyler took a time out in an attempt to squelch the momentum.

A kill by Wegner, two ace serves by Otten and a hit into the net by SCHS provided W-P with the next four points after the time-out and a 20-7 lead. A block by Shonka and a kill by Semerad brought the crowd back to life but it was simply a case of too little, too late.

The third set belonged to the Lady Gators as well. Two kills by Wegner and an ace serve by Waterman sent W-P out the gates and off to a 5-0 lead. The Lady Warriors still had a glimmer of hope when Adi Meyer sailed a serve deep past the end-line cutting their deficit to 9-4 but a 6-0 run gave Wisner-Pilger a 15-4 lead that sealed the deal.

“As a team we recognized that we need to continue to work on our defense in both blocking and digging,” Saalfeld said. “We also need to work on being able to make smart plays to win volleys. With the dedication and hard work that the girls have put in and continue to show every day, I think we will get to where we want to be. We gave a few changes to make and once the girls are more comfortable with where they are playing everything will start to click for them.”

The Lady Warriors return to action Thursday, August 30th when they host Bellvue Cornerstone Christian in the SCHS gymnasium with a 6:30 start scheduled for the varsity match.

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