CREIGHTON — After a COVID related shutdown for a week, the Hartington-Newcastle volleyball team returned to the court and found themselves a little disjointed after the break.
The Lady Wildcats went 1-3 last week and are now 2-8 (including two forfeits incurred during the shutdown) and beat Winnebago 3-0 (25-6, 25-10, 25- 8) before losing all three matches at the Creighton Tournament.
The Lady Wildcats fell to Summerland (25-21, 25-11), Creighton (25-16, 25-11) and West holt (25-20, 25-14).
In the Winnebago win, junior Kennadi Peitz broke the school record with 14 aces.
Head coach Leigh Haselhorst also had plenty of other performances to note.
“Alivia Morten and Olivia Grutsch have really been impressing me with their leadership and moving the ball around to their hitters,” Haselhorst said of her setters. “They are a great combination and our team is better for having them both.
“Mani Lange, our libero, has been working really hard in the back row and on her serve receive. This week I saw it click with her as she was passing rocks this weekend at our tournament.”
Haselhorst liked what she saw in the Winnebago match.
“I thought we played clean and was able to speed up our offense and run some faster tempo sets,” she said. “On Saturday, we had numerous rotation changes due to another injury. My freshman middle, McKenzie Bruning really stepped up for her team. She has such an outgoing personality which carried over onto the court.”
Lange said the week was a little rough and that the Lady Wildcats are still trying to find themselves again after the layoff.
“We are kind of back to square one,” Lange said. “We also have three of our starters out. We are still struggling with talking to each other and working as a team.”
Lange said the team got back to the practice court last Monday and started to get back at it, but the loss of rhythm has been the big issue in the return.
“I think we are all happy that if it had to happen, it happened now,” Lange said of the lockdown. “If it had happened at the end of September or into October, we would have been pretty shaken up by it. We all just need to stay in the gym and keep working hard at practices.”
She added that players need to keep an open mind on being moved around in the lineup due to the adversity they are facing currently with the roster.
“Our team is the best example of injuries can happen,” Lange said. “We just have to be ready for anything and most importantly, to stay healthy.
“I am the libero and I have nowhere else I can really move. I would say, I expected worse (from herself). I didn’t think I would be where I am right now. I feel like I am improving a lot. I used to be a setter and I never serve-received a day in my life and now I can go back and serve-receive a ball and it’s nothing.”
With plenty of time left in the campaign, Haselhorst isn’t sweating the postseason probabilities yet, and enjoys seeing the team always ready to compete.
“We unfortunately haven’t had the same rotation for back-toback games so, that is hard to be consistent,” Haselhorst said.
The Lady Wildcats head to Wynot Thursday.
“I always enjoy playing Wynot because they play a similar type of ball like us,” Haselhorst said. “I look forward to a good week of practice to improve on things.”
Hartington-Newcastle 25 25 25
Winnebago 6 8 10
HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 6; Alivia Morten, 5; Lauren Howell, 5; Erin Meisenheimer, 4; Olivia Grutsch, 2.
HNS - Olivia Grutsch, 15; Alivia Morten, 9.
HNS - Kennadi Peitz, 14; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; Anya Pick, 1; Alivia Morten, 1; Mani Lange, 1.
HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 1; Erin Meisenheimer, 1.
HNS - Mani Lange, 14; Erin Meisenheimer, 8; Alivia Morten, 7; Kennadi Peitz, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 4; Anya Pick, 1; Lauren Howell, 1; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1.
HNS 16 11
Creighton 25 25
HNS - Erin Meisenheimer, 5; Zoey Gratafeld, 2; Alivia Morten, 1. Kennadi Peitz 1; Olivia Grutsch, 1; Mackenzie Bruning, 1
HNS - Mani Lange, 1; Olivia Grutsch, 1.
HNS - Alivia Morten, 6.
HNS - Mani Lange, 15; Alivia Morten, 6 Kennadi Peitz, 4; Erin Meisenheimer, 3 Olivia Grutsch, 2; Maya Knutson, 1.
HNS 21 11
Summerland 25 25
HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 5; Kennadi Peitz 1; Olivia Grutsch, 1; Mackenzie Bruning 2; Erin Meisenheimer, 2; Mani Lange, 1.
HNS - Kennadi Peitz, 1; Erin Meisenheimer, 1.
HNS - Alivia Morten, 7; Olivia Grutsch, 3 Mani Lange, 1.
HNS - Mani Lange, 11; Kennadi Peitz, 8 Olivia Grutsch, 6; Alivia Morten, 4; Erin Meisenheimer, 3; Mackenzie Bruning, 1.
HNS 20 14
West Holt 25 25
HNS - Erin Meisenheimer, 4; Alivia Morten 3; Kennadi Peitz, 2; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1; Mackenzie Bruning, 1.
HNS - Mackenzie Bruning, 2; Erin Meisenheimer, 1.
HNS - Alivia Morten, 4; Olivia Grutsch, 2.
HNS - Kennadi Peitz, 11; Mani Lange, 7; Alivia Morten, 5; Erin Meisenheimer, 4; Olivia Grutsch, 1.
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