The Rhinelander High School volleyball team couldn't keep their home winning streak alive, and fell 3-1 to Medford on Tuesday night. The Raiders rallied back after sets were tied 1-1, and won two straight to earn the Great Northern Conference win at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
It was a close first set, where the largest lead for either team would be only three points. The Raiders pulled ahead 24-21, but senior Hope Wissbroecker used back-to-back kills to give the Hodags a chance. But on her third straight attack, Wissbroecker sent the ball deep out of bounds and Medford earned the 25-23 win. It also marked one of RHS's 14 costly attacking errors in the set, and they would finish with 34 total in the match.
But Rhinelander responded in the second and would race out to a 12-4 lead with Wissbroecker sparking the offense. She recorded two early solo blocks along with several kills to help RHS get an early advantage. RHS continued that momentum and got kills in the middle of the set from senior Lexie Rick and Wissbroecker to put them up 15-8. Wissbroecker sealed the deal with back-to-back kills and an ace to finish the set, as Rhinelander tied the sets up one each after the 25-17 win.
The momentum continued for Rhinelander in the beginning of the third, but quickly swung to the Raiders. The Hodags took a convincing 20-12 lead, before the Raiders rallied for a 13-2 run and stole the third set 25-22 and would take a one set advantage in the match.
In the fourth set it was close early on, but Medford began to pull away midway through with a 16-10 lead. The Raiders would close the match on a 9-4 run and three straight attacking errors for Rhinelander would give Medford the 24-14 advantage. Wissbroecker had a kill to keep RHS alive, but Medford finished the final point to earn the 25-15 win for the match.
Wissbroecker led the way with 31 kills, 27 digs, and four solo blocks. Senior setter Makayla Kuester had the team-high of 25 assists and four aces. Senior libero Steph Kuester recorded 38 digs on the night. And senior Ally Seefeldt added 22 assists and 13 digs.
Rhinelander finished fifth in the GNC standings at 5-7 and are 14-17 overall. The Hodags found out Wednesday night in the WIAA Division 2 regional seeding meeting that they would travel to Eagle River Tuesday to face Northland Pines in the quarterfinals after receiving the No. 5 seed.
The Hodags and Eagles each won five-set matches against each other this season, and will be both playing in the Wausau West Invite over the weekend.
The Rhinelander High School volleyball team went 1-2 on Saturday when they took part in the second leg of the Great Northern Conference tournament in Eagle River. The Hodags dropped a close five-set match to Northland Pines in the first round, fell 3-0 to Antigo, and would close the day defeating Lakeland 3-0.
After RHS earned conference wins over both the Eagles and the Robins earlier in the season, the Hodags fell to both teams in the first two rounds of action. The tables turned after Rhinelander held off Pines in a five-set win on September, 19th, and swept Antigo 3-0 on September, 7th, both at home.
The Hodags came back after a rough start, where they fell 25-15. But Rhinelander rallied back to take the next two sets; 26-24, 25-20 over the Eagles. But the back-and-fourth affair continued as Pines storm back to win the fourth set 25-19 and force a fifth set.
In the final set, the Hodags held a 9-7 advantage, but a combination of standout Hope Wissbroecker in the back row, with sophomore Jacquiline Smith in the front row, the Eagles would close the set taking the final eight of 10 points to seal the deal with a 15-11 win.
Being slightly deflated from the five-set loss, Rhinelander came out flat against Antigo in the second round. The Robins used back-to-back aces from libero Emma Jaje to win the first set 25-22.
Rhinelander raced out to 13-8 advantage in the second with a pair of kills from Wissbroecker and another from fellow senior Cami Buchmann before Antigo went for six unanswered points to tie the set 14-14. The Robins also took advantage of a few missed serves and attacking errors of the Hodags. The set remained close after an ace from Wissbroecker to bring the set to 23-23, but Antigo reeled off the final two points to win 25-23.
Antigo put up a strong block in the third set and used an 11-4 run to close the third and final set 25-13, falling to the Robins 3-0 overall.
The Hodags' only win of the day came in their final match against Lakeland, where they had their most convincing set win at 25-8. RHS used nine unanswered points to start the match and cruised to a 17-points win.
RHS continued to dominate in the second set and in similar fashion found themselves ahead 15-3 after a couple kills from senior Ally Seefeldt and a middle tip-kill from Wissbroecker. Brooke Mork and Hannah Worachek also added kills in the middle of the set. Senior setter, Makayla Kuester had two straight aces to end the sit and gave Rhinelander a 25-11 win.
In what proved to be the final set of the match and day, RHS went up 12-5 and continued to build on that momentum to take a 20-12 lead. The Hodags maintained a seven to nine-point for the rest of the match and closed the third set with 25-17 win to sweep the Robins.
Hope Wissbroecker led the Hodags' offense on the day and recorded 47 kills in the three matches. She also finished with 22 digs, five blocks, and five aces in her efforts. Senior Molly Wagler chipped in nine kills and four blocks as well. And Buchmann added six kills, six aces, and two blocks. Mork chipped in eight kills.
Senior libero Steph Kuester led the team on defense and finished with 74 digs and added four aces. While senior setter Makayla Kuester led the team in assists with 40 and recorded 17 digs as well. And Seefeldt also had 31 assists.
Rhinelander fell to 5-6 in the GNC standings and are 14-16 overall. The Hodags will be back in action Tuesday when they host Medford for their final conference match. RHS looks to remain perfect on their home court, with the first serve set for 7:00PM at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
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