The Wauwatosa West girls volleyball team finished in a three-way tie for third place Saturday at the six-team Marshfield Invitational.
Marshfield won its own invite, going unbeaten (5-0), and they were followed by Rhinelander (4-1).
Tosa West, Altoona and Medford each finished 2-3 and Superior (0-5) brought up the rear as the teams played a six-team round-robin format.
The Trojans started slowly against Altoona, could not pass the ball off the serve and lost game one, 25-19.
The Trojans were able to establish the middle hit with Elise Ditscheit connecting on 6-of-11 kills and Ellen Restyanski pitched in with six kills. Jillian Ditscheit and Sarah Mraz led the team with six digs each.
Tosa West won a 25-22 decision and then squeaked out a 15-13 victory.
"Our second match was by far our most disappointing of the day," co-coach Kelly Dwyer said. "Our fundamentals were not strong; gave up too many easy points and reverted to the poor passing that we displayed in the first game of the day."
As a result the Trojans dropped the match to Medford (25-13, 25-19).
The Trojans then dropped their third match to host and perennial region powerhouse Marshfield (25-13, 25-14).
"Though we lost in two games, we played our best passing and defensive volleyball of the morning session," Dwyer said. The loss did not reflect our improved play."
A quality Rhinelander team then beat the Trojans (25-12, 25-23), holding off Tosa West in the second game.
"Out of the gates we were a little slow, but quickly recovered and got a little bounce in our step," Dwyer said. "We played neck to neck with Rhinelander in game two, fought to a 23-23 tie, and just couldn't finish.
"Ditscheit again established herself as our go-to hitter, finishing off with nine kills of our team total of 12 kills for the match. Elise and Andrea Hafemeister led the team with seven digs each."
The Trojans then beat Superior (25-14, 25-23) as Dani Savignac picked up her game in the final match and recorded six kills. The sister act of Jillian and Elise Ditscheit led the team with five digs each, while Elise put away nine kills.
"Our sophomore setters, Ali Stewart and Maddie Inman continue with strong growth, recording 38 and 28 assists, respectively," co-coach Jerry Lahmann said, "and Jillian Ditscheit and Andrea Hafemeister continue to anchor a solid defense.
"We were quite pleased in the consistent defensive contributions of Elise and sophomore Sarah Mraz."
Dwyer and Lahmann put in a new lineup for this tournament and they are starting to see buy-in as a few of the players are establishing themselves in their new roles.
"The biggest concern is the lack of consistency in service return, which will be addressed as priority No. 1 in the upcoming practices," Lahmann said. "We coaches are also looking to see other hitters pick up their game to get a little more balance in the offense," Lahmann said.
Dwyer feels the Trojans need to be more aggressive.
"We need to be a little more aggressive with our serves and try to take the other team out of there game a little more," he said. "Big thing for us is that we need to be more aggressive as a team for a whole match not just parts of it. I don't think we have played to the best of our ability for a whole game this year."
- Tom "Sky" Skibosh
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