The Rhinelander High School volleyball team fell to Tomahawk on Tuesday on Senior night but showed improvements throughout the sets. The Hatchets cruised to a 25-11, 25-6, 25-17 victory to sweep the Hodags at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
Senior Brooke Mork led the Hodags' offense and finished the night with six kills. Both Mork and libero Mikayla Evenstad who has been out with a knee injury, were honored before the match by Coach Brianna Scheuermann and teammates.
Rhinelander hung with the Hatchets early in the first and their offense was sparked by Mork who had two early kills to bring the Hodags within four at 5-9. But after a Tomahawk attacking error, the Hatchets rallied off six straight points to take a 15-6 advantage.
Junior Natalie Zastrow had a pair of blocks in the middle of the first set over Rhinelander’s shorter front row. Mork would break the rally with another outside kill but Tomahawk went on an 8-1 run including three straight aces from Zastrow and four straight attacking errors would give the Hatchets set point and Tomahawk junior Mady Hanse closed the set with an outside kill.
The Hodags came out flat in the second set and the Hatchets took advantage and scored the first seven points before sophomore Kahlie Arneson had a middle kill to put RHS on the board. But that would be short-lived as Tomahawk answered with an 11-1 run which included four kills from Hanse and several RHS attacking errors. And senior Taylor Shilts closed the second set with an ace and gave the Hatchets a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The third set proved to be the most competitive of the night where Rhinelander held their own and stayed within reach but Tomahawk would pull away at the end to win 25-17 and sweep the match. Hanse led the hatchets early on with a pair of aces and two outside kills to put Tomahawk up 10-3.
Rhinelander clawed their way back with an ace from Mork, middle kill from junior Novalee Juel, and middle tip kill from Arneson. A Tomahawk attacking error would bring RHS within one point at 11-12 but that would be the closest they would come.
Along with Mork's six kills she added four digs. Arneson finished with three kills and junior setter Aryssa Zasada charted eight assists and two aces. Sophomore Hannah Worachek and freshman Carly Schmidt each added six digs.
The Hodags will be back in action on Saturday when they compete in a non-conference invitational a Wausau West. Rhinelander will begin WIAA playoffs Thursday. RHS received the eighth seed in their bracket and will face top-seed Merrill on the road. First-serve is set for 7:00PM.