HARTINGTON — The Hartington-Newcastle volleyball team continues to seek an identity and a rhythm as the season closes in on the postseason.
The Lady Wildcats (2-10) dropped two tough decisions to Bloomfield 3-2 (23-25, 26-24, 18- 25, 25-21, 15-10) and Osmond 3-1 (22-25, 25-11, 29-27, 25-16) after starting off with early leads.
“Both losses this week were heartbreakers,” Lady Wildcats head coach Leigh Haselhorst said. “The girls fought so hard. They have been working so hard to fight. We have been working on cutting down our errors and earning our points.
“Mani Lange ended with 36 digs for the Bloomfield game and saved us in many long rallies by being a beast in the back row.”
Erin Folkers and Lauren Howell added 18 and 10 kills apiece while Alivia Morten and Kennadi Peitz served seven and five aces each. Morten and Olivia Grutsch finished with 23 and 20 assists.
Folkers had 17 kills against Osmond while Erin Meisenheimer added eight kills and Lange added 24 digs from the backrow with Peitz added 15 digs and Grutsch finished with 14 digs.
Lange said the one positive this week was the team has all of its players back from injury and is in “good health.”
“We have just been struggling trusting each other and maybe it’s just because we haven’t had the same rotation yet this year,” Lange said. “We don’t always know who is going to get which ball and stuff like that. I think we just need to find our spark. We see it at moments, but we just need it to click. Every now and then we see glimpses of how great we can be, but then we fall back down. We ar on this constant rollercoaster with up-and-down momentum.
“Once we find our spark, we could really be great.”
Lange said the team focused in the preseason on staying positive no matter what happened and to keep the team up despite the downs.
Lange also notes that with the season dwindling down she believes the Lady Wildcats have to get more consistent and learn to move on quicker from mistakes with the postseason nearing.
Essentially, the Lady Wildcats needs to learn how to seize momentum and recognize and take advantage of those moments.
“You miss you serve, get over it and move on to the next play: We have a whole rest of a game to finish,” Lange said. “You can’t hang your head over that one play. You have to move on from it and forget about it. If you think about it the whole time it’s just going to weigh you down.
“With that rollercoaster thing … we will have a really good rally and finish it out and then we will serve into the net. We need to keep it one steady high line instead of the constant up-and-down.”
Lange believes the team has killer instinct and it’s just a matter of breaking out.
“It’s just about it finding it and using it,” Lange said. “We are still a really young team and still trying to figure out what works. Once we find it, everything will open up and we will play at our best.”
The Lady Wildcats not only hope to get into a rhythm match-to-match but also in game.
“We are working on staying consistent throughout the whole game,” Haselhorst said. “This week will test us again as we will be busy with games and homecoming. We talked a lot about staying focused this week still.
“A goal of mine has been to speed up our offense. The girls have really trusted me in this, and it has been fun to see this click for my outside hitters.
“They worked so hard in both of these long matches this week. They are successful running that fast tempo ball to the outside. This week we will be working with our middles to speed that up as well. My back row and setters are working their tails off to get the ball up for their hitters.”
The Lady Wildcats host
Planview Thursday and Randolph Tuesday for Parents Night.
Osmond 22 25 29 25
Hartington--Newcastle 25 11 27 16
KILLS HNS - Erin Folkers, 17; Erin Meisenheimer, 8; Lauren Howell, 1; Alivia Morten, 1.
ACE SERVES HNS - Maya Knutson, 3; Alivia Morten, 2; Olivia Grutsch, 2.
BLOCKS HNS - Erin Fokers, 1; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1; Anya Pick, 1; Lauren Howell, 1.
SET ASSISTS HNS - Alivia Morten, 14; Olivia Grutsch, 12; Mani Lange, 1.
DIGS HNS - Mani Lange, 24; Kennadi Peitz, 15; Olivia Grutsch, 14; Alivia Morten, 11; Erin Folkers,9; Erin Meisenheimer, 7; Lauren Howell, 5; Maya Knutson, 1.
Bloomfield 23 26 18 25 15
Hartington--Newcastle 25 24 25 21 10
HNS - Erin Folkers, 18; Lauren Howell, 10; Erin Meisenheimer, 6; Alivia Morten, 3; Zoey Gratzfeld, 3; Olivia Grutsch, 2; Kennadi Peitz, 1.
ACE SERVES HNS - Alivia Morten, 7; Kennadi Peitz, 5; Olivia Grutsch, 2; Mani Lange, 1.
BLOCKS HNS - Zoey Gratzfeld, 2; Alivia Morten, 1.
SET ASSISTS HNS - Alivia Morten, 23; Olivia Grutsch, 20.
DIGS HNS - Mani Lange, 36; Kennadi Peitz, 14; Olivia Grutsch, 12; Erin Folkers, 11; Lauren Howell, 11; Alivia Morten, 9; Erin Meisenheimer, 1; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1.
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