The Rhinelander High School volleyball team's 2017 season came to end on Tuesday night. The Hodags were swept by Northland Pines on the road in the WIAA Division 2 regional match. The Eagles soared past Rhinelander to win 3-0, which came as a shock to many after the first two contests they played earlier in the season resulted in five-set matches.
Rhinelander struggled in the first set and fell 25-12, and was never able to recover from that point. Northland Pines would complete the sweep after a 25-19 second set win, and 25-18 third set victory.
The Eagles would lead the entire first set, but RHS stuck around early in the set. Brooke Mork had an outside kill to pull the Hodags' within two at 4-6. But from there, Pines went on a 5-2 run to push their lead to 11-6. Things began to unravel for Rhinelander which included a series of passing and attacking errors.
After a Jacqueline Smith ace and a tip that sailed out of bounds from senior Lexie Rick, Pines would be up 24-10. Senior Hope Wissbroecker would have an ace to keep Rhinelander alive paired with an Eagle error. But Pines would close the set and stole the final point to earn the convincing 13-point first set win.
Once again, the Hodags never led in the second set. RHS was tied at 3-3 after a Wissbroecker tip kill but the Eagles responded with six unanswered points including back-to-back aces from Smith, as Pines cruised to a 9-3 advantage. Wissbroecker broke up the rally with a middle kill. But once again passing errors and attacking errors seem to damper the Hodags.
The Hodags' started to string some points together and an ace from senior Cami Buchmann would get RHS within three at 17-14. But Smith would have two straight kills to spark momentum change for Pines. Daleigh Neveaux had an inside kills and Smith recorded another ace to get the Eagles set-point at 24-15.
But Rhinelander didn't back down and rallied with four straight points which included two middle blocks from Wissbroecker. But senior Kirsten Lindemann sealed the deal with an outside kill to give Northland Pines a 25-19 second set win and a 2-0 advantage in the match.
In what proved to be the third and final set, the Eagles had four straight early points to go up 10-4. Rhinelander battled and used three straight points from Wissbroecker to tie the set up 15-15. But Pines answered with a 6-0 run including a few tips and an ace from Cameron Ramesh. Eagles won the third set 25-18 after another ace.
On the night, Rhinelander finished with five more attacking errors then kills. Wissbroecker recorded 13 kills for the Hodags' and added 19 digs and four blocks. Stephanie Kuester finished with 16 digs. Ally Seefeldt would add 12 digs and 10 assists. And Makayla Kuester had 11 digs and seven assists as well.
Rhinelander finished 15-19-3 for the 2017 season and would place fifth in the Great Northern Conference. It would be the final high school match for nine seniors on the varsity roster and 12 overall. The varsity seniors include Buchman, Brooke Frahm, Makayla Kuester, Steph Kuester, Rick, Tori Roberts, Seefeldt, Molly Wagler, and Wissbroecker.
The Eagles will advance to the WIAA regional semifinal on Thursday when they travel to Merrill to take on the top-seeded Bluejays.
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.
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