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Tigers roll on

October 11, 2019 by Brett LaBore

The Mercer volleyball team continued to build off its big win against Washburn last week with a tournament in Ironwood/Hurley as well as a conference game against Drummond.

The Tigers won the Wisconsin/Michigan Border tournament on Saturday in Ironwood and Hurley. They defeated Lake Linden-Hubbel 2-0 (25-17, 25-15) for the win. 

They then defeated Drummond 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-19) on Tuesday. 

“I said, ‘If you win the next four matches we’ll be conference champions,’” coach Robyn Schoeneman said. “We’re not taking anybody for granted and we’re taking one match at a time. We’re still in the driver’s seat and hopefully we’ll stay there.”

Aubrey Schoeneman hit her spots early. She totaled four kills early as the Tigers broke out to a 6-3 lead. Three of the kills were assisted by Ella Torkelson and one by Ava Barton.

Moments later, a couple of long rallies broke out. Back-and-forth the ball went as both teams continued to make plays. Both teams wanted the point. 

“(We) all play so well together. They play with all their heart,” coach Schoeneman said. “What is wonderful on one play by one person the next person will have the next play. We have a lot of different weapons. Our number one weapon is our defense. It’s fun to watch.” 

In one rally specifically, Samantha Barton made a running save to keep the play alive, followed by KD Knipp blocking Drummond’s attack for the point. 

After three consecutive points for Drummond, the combination of Knipp to Torkelson to Zoe Botes put the Tigers back on track. They led 15-9.

Samantha Barton continued to make saves all over the court. Up 20-14, the Tigers recorded five straight points to win set one. That run included kills by Schoeneman and Jessica Klopatek. Samantha Barton had the digs and Torkelson the assists during the run.

In set two, the one of the most popular combinations of Ava Barton to Torkelson to Aubrey Schoeneman for the kill gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead.

Then, the Tigers went on a 14-3 run. Within that run both Bartons were active. Samantha Barton had a dig that led to sister Ava Barton for the kill. 

“Ava and Sam, watching them as sisters in the back row together, it’s awesome to watch (as well as) Molly Hohner,” coach Schoeneman said. “Those three are up against every team’s best hitters and those guys are getting those balls up, it’s really remarkable.”

The exclamation point came on a free ball that went over to the Tigers’ side that Ava Barton slammed down for a point. Tigers led 19-7.

Ava Barton finished set two off with an ace. The Tigers were up 2-0.

Early in the third set, Drummond took their first lead of the match, a 4-3 lead. It didn’t last long as the Tigers took it back to take a 7-6 lead.

The Tigers started to pull away on back-to-back aces by Torkelson. That put the score in favor of Mercer as Drummond took a timeout. Tigers led 13-8.

Now up only three points, Haley Allen dug one up and Torkelson passed it to Ava Barton whose attack led to a Drummond error.

Then Aubrey Schoeneman got hot again. She had four kills late to put the set and match away. Her kills were all assisted by Torkelson with both Bartons in the back controlling the court.

Up 24-19, a Knipp block led to a Drummond error that put it away. The Tigers won 3-0 and continued their conference dominance. 

Part of this success has been thanks to the play from freshman Samantha Barton and Knipp.

“(The freshman are) really raising their level of play to the occasion. They’re really stepping up for such youngsters and they’re very coachable, they know their role and they fulfill it well,” coach Schoeneman said.

Wisconsin/Michigan Border tournament

It all started in Ironwood with pool play. That was where the Tigers defeated Ironwood 2-0 (25-9, 25-12), Drummond 2-0 (25-10, 25-15), Wakefield-Marenisco 2-0 (25-7, 25-13) and Three Lakes 2-0 (25-18, 25-11).

The Tigers then traveled over to Hurley to play first place Lake Linden-Hubbel from that pool. The Tigers defeated them 2-0 (25-17, 25-15). 

The win put the Tigers record at 25-5.

“The day was a huge success and can be attributed to a total team effort. We played probably our best match of the season against Three Lakes,” coach Schoeneman said. “We are starting to really play some outstanding volleyball.” 

Their next game came Thursday, Oct. 10 at Hurley. Coverage of that will be in the Oct. 18 edition of The Times.

Then, the Tigers travel to Butternut on Tuesday, Oct. 15 for another conference match. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected] com.

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