The trend continued Saturday for the Rhinelander High School volleyball team. There were closer sets, and even a set victory sprinkled in, but the Hodags were unable to snap their losing streak.
Rhinelander went 0-5 in the Wausau West Invite, its final competition of the regular season. The Hodags lost in straight sets to Eau Claire Regis, Northland Pines, Neillsville and Wausau West, and had a three-set loss against Green Bay Southwest.
Rhinelander played its toughest opponent right out of the gate, with a 25-11, 25-8 loss to Regis, which ended up winning the tournament.
"They were a very well-coached team," Rhinelander coach Brianna Scheuermann noted. "(They) picked up everything and found every hole in the defense. They didn't really hit against us but just placed the ball very well."
Rhinelander followed that with its closest match of the day, a 25-18, 18-25, 15-7 loss to Green Bay Southwest. The Hodags had plenty of offense in the match, led by seven kills from Cynthia Beavers. JV call-up Sienna Webber had five kills and Ariel Pauer chipped in three kills.
"Played a little better this game, hit better," Scheuermann said. "We just had a little bit of troubles with serve receive and being able to get a side out."
GNC runner-up Northland Pines was next up and the Hodags took the Eagles to extra points in the first set before falling, 26-24. Pines had a easier time in the second set, winning 25-16. Scheuermann noted that Pauer left the match after rolling her ankle in the second set and the Hodags struggled to get blocks on the conference's top hitter, Northland Pines' Jacqueline Smith, after that.
Pauer was able to return for the Hodags' fourth match against Neillsville. Again, Rhinelander took the first set to extra points before falling 28-26. Neillsville took the second set 25-17. Wausau West swept the final match of the round-robin invite 25-10, 25-15, with Scheuermann stating that fatigue became a factor.
"The girls were beat at this point and just didn't move as quick or were able to get kills to keep them in the sets," she said.
Beavers had 13 kills for Rhinelander while Pauer added six blocks. Webber, a junior added seven kills in her first varsity action.
"She did a really good job tonight. She had several kills, couple aces and just played very well for not practicing with us and just joining us for the game. She will most likely come join us for our Regional game in Mauston," Scheuermann noted.
Rhinelander is the 15th seed in a 15-team regional bracket and travels to second-seeded Mauston this evening. Scheuermann said Monday was spent working on the little things ahead of what, barring a major upset, would be the team's last match of the season.
"Going to work on defensive positioning, smarter tipping choices, getting serves in, serve receive, and just moving and communicating more while on the court," she said.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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