By Cara L. Dempski
PHILLIPS — For many prep volleyball teams, the tournament season is like hitting a reset button.
The regular season records count for seeding in the brackets, but it seems like a clean slate for many teams. The difference, of course, is that one loss means the end of the road in the do-or-die contests leading up to the state tournament held the first weekend in November.
The Glenwood City Hilltoppers found that out the hard way when they made the long trek to Phillips October 17 and suffered a 3-0 loss to the Lady Loggers in a quarterfinal’s match of the WIAA Division 3 regional that ended their season.
[emember_protected] Head coach Christa Blaser later said last Tuesday’s loss was a tough one.
“Phillips was not a team we should have lost to,” she said. “The ladies were not on their A-game, and we needed all of it to get a win.”
The Lady Toppers fell to the Loggers 25-17 in the first set before suffering a 25-8 shellacking in the second before dropping the third set and match in 25-17 loss.
The team stayed at 90 percent for serving in the match, which has been a constant in the 2017 season.
Senior Jenesa Klinger earned six kills in the game, while Delaney Quinn and Tressa Peskar each took credit for three more. The Toppers had a total of 19 kills in the match.
Jatelyn Johnson set up 12 scoring attacks for Glenwood City, and Madelyn Oehlke took credit for another seven.
Blaser said 2017 was a turning point for the Hilltoppers. It has been 12 years since Glenwood City won three or more conference matches, and the team ended the year 3-5 in the Dunn-St. Croix. The Toppers picked up six wins overall.
“I have high hopes for next season,” Blaser said. “We have a strong group of juniors, and I can’t wait to see what a year of growth will do for them.”
The Hilltopper coach said the biggest thing for the team was to get a feeling of success and learn what winning feels like. She expressed pride in the team’s accomplishments, and said the Lady Toppers have consistently improved each year. Blaser noted the team’s growing confidence is a great thing to be a part of.
Glenwood City will again hold a Pacesetter camp next summer, something she believes has helped her players in past years. Two years ago, the team attended a one-day camp at UW-Madison, and this past summer, nine of the Lady Hilltoppers spent a weekend in Madison with the Badger volleyball team.
“This experience shows in their performance on the court, but also in the leadership role, and is something we hope to continue every year,” Blaser said.
The Glenwood City Hilltopper volleyball team finished 2017 with a 3-5 record in the Dunn-St. Croix for fifth place, and were 6-13 overall. [/emember_protected]