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Volleyball: Girls bounce back against Metro League teams

by Will Bublitz
Middle Park High School's Shannan Stensvad goes up for a block against Denver Christian High School during Friday night's match. Middle Park won the match in three games. (Photo by Byron Hetzler)
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After back-to-back losses to two Metro League teams the previous week, Middle Park High School’s volleyball team rebounded to win back-to-back victories against two other Metro League teams.

On Friday, Oct. 5, the Lady Panthers beat Denver Christian in three games. They then followed it with another three-game victory Saturday against Bishop Machebeuf.

Although the matches were much-needed wins for Middle Park in the Metro League, coach Kris Newberry said the coaching staff is not entirely happy with the team’s performance.

“Although we won those matches, most of the games should not have been as close as they were,” she said. “We’re a much better team than that. This team is now trying to refocus itself to get a tough mental edge as we head into the playoffs.”

In Friday’s home match against Denver Christian, Middle Park won a solid victory in three games by scores of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-6.

“We crushed the Crusaders,” Newberry said. “A victory is a victory and congratulations are due to our girls, but our first couple of games were not our best performance. I was much happier with the third game when we played at our peak.”

In the first game against the Crusaders, the Lady Panthers got off to a slow start.

“It was neck-and-neck all the way,” Newberry said. “We’d get up a point and then we’d let them catch up. It was not until the end that we pulled away to win it.”

In the match’s second game, the Crusaders took an early two-point lead before the Lady Panthers rallied to put the contest away.

“Denver Christian had a little run and got ahead of us,” Newberry said. “By the time the score was 13-13, we started to realize that it was time to start playing. We then pulled ahead and never looked back.”

In the match’s third and final game, Middle Park’s spikers were now fully awake and went immediately on the attack, racking up seven straight points.

“We finally started playing volleyball,” Newberry said. “Denver Christian kept plugging away, but we never let them in the door.”

The team earned some good stats in Friday’s home match. In serving, Elsa Krieg made 11 serves to earn three aces while teammate Nina Palm made 17 serves to gain two aces.

Krieg also led in the attack-kill category, making 23 attacks with 12 kills. Hannah Brinkmann was also impressive, making 17 attacks to earn seven kills.

On defense, the honors were shared by Anna Conrad, who made 20 digs, and Nina Palm who had 18. Krieg posted three solid blocks and Shannan Stensvad earned two.

The team’s hard-working setter Jessica Waldron moved the ball around to all players, making 24 assists during the match.

In Saturday’s away match against Bishop Machebeuf, the Lady Panthers had to work harder to stay ahead of the Buffalos but ultimately succeeded in winning again in three games by scores of 25-18, 25-17 and 25-22.

“These games should not have been that close, but Machebeuf is a scrappy team and kept plugging away,” Newberry said.

Middle Park’s offense was led by Hannah Brinkmann who made 21 attacks with eight kills. She was followed by Krieg who posted 12 attacks with seven kills. The best attack-kill ratio was earned by Amelia Nicol who made 10 attacks to earn seven kills.

“Amelia is coming on strong now that we’re nearing the end of the season,” Newberry said.

Nicol was also impressive on defense, making a couple of strong blocks that went down to the floor to score two points.

The defense was led again by Palm and Conrad who earned nine and eight digs respectively.

The Lady Panthers will face a tough Metro League opponent in an away match on Friday. They will travel to Denver to take on the Faith Christian Eagles. The C-Squad match is at 2 p.m., junior varsity at 3 p.m. and varsity at 4 p.m.


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