EM volleyball goes winless at Eau Claire North tournament

By Cara L. Dempski

EAU CLAIRE — The Mounder volleyball team closed the circle on its “preseason” competition this past Saturday at Eau Claire North.

Elk Mound headed to North for a tournament featuring teams from Bloomer, Osceola, Eau Claire Memorial and Thorp. The September 16 matches dropped the Mounders to 11-11 for the season after the ladies’ lost all four.

[emember_protected] “I don’t think the scores reflect the level of play we had at times,” head coach Sam Stelter said. “When we were on, we competed with everyone. We just need to be able to stay at that level rather than playing so inconsistently.”

Stelter noted her Mounders spent many games digging themselves out of holes, only to give up big runs once the mistakes were made up.

However, the day was not wholly without hope in the coach’s eyes.

“We couldn’t seem to quite break through and pull ahead, but when we do, watch out,” Stelter said.

The Mounders faced the Bloomer Blackhawks for the first match of the day, and were felled 1-2 after the Lady Hawks took the first set 25-20. Elk Mound pushed back to take the second 25-19, but then succumbed to the Blackhawks with a 15-5 game in the third.

Elk Mound then faced Osceola in a 10 a.m. match, dropping both sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-19 for the 0-2 loss to the Chieftains. Eau Claire Memorial was the Mounders’ next opponent, and bested the ladies 0-2 with scores of 25-19 and 25-15.

The Thorp Cardinals were the Mounders’ final match of the day. Elk Mound made a game of it in the first set, losing by just 25-22, but then struggled offensively in the second set to fall 25-17 for the match loss.

Morgan Radtke led the scoring attack with 29 kills and a pair of aces, while senior Cassidy Yakesh fired 17 kill shots in the tournament. Allie Weber logged 15 kills and two unreturned serves, Kourtney Zurbuchen accounted for an aces and 11 kills, and Sophie Cedarblade and Madysen Borofka each logged four kills.

Cedarblade is also credited with a pair of aces, and Hailey Blaskowski recorded one.

Weber and Alex Jenson tied for foiled attacks, taking credit for 28 digs each, and Borofka logged 20. Radtke and Cedarblade tied with 17 digs apiece, Blaskowski recorded 12, Yakesh chalked up seven, and Zurbuchen accounted for four.

Borofka led the assist stats, with 65 sets for scoring attacks. Cedarblade is credited with three, Jenson with two, and Weber with one.

While the 0-4 finish for the day was not exactly desirable, Stelter is looking at the positives for the day.

“I do know this certainly isn’t going to be a tournament that crushes our spirits. We know where we struggle, and we’re going to address it so we can get better,” she said.

The Mounders faced Plum City at home September 19, and will head to Durand September 21 before hosting Boyceville September 26. The Mounders are 11-11 overall as they head into Dunn-St. Croix competition. [/emember_protected]