Dynamite interior presence ignited by junior middle hitter Tami Gleason’s nine kills would cap off a successful weekend for the Rangers.
“With volleyball it’s easy to get comfortable at only feeding the outside hitters,” said Parkside head coach Michele Benoit. “We executed our quick attacks in the middle which resulted in a more versatile offense.”
Fresh off a victory in Saturday afternoon’s early match over Northwest Missouri, Parkside hosted the University of Minnesota-Crookston Golden Eagles in the finale of their four-game Friday and Saturday tournament.
In completing their second straight sweep during the UW-Parkside Invitational, the Rangers would end on a bittersweet note. They went 2-0 in their matches on Saturday boasting a perfect 6-0 record in those games. Their only match loss came at the mighty hands of #15 ranked Mankato and they completed the weekend on a 3-1 clip. In addition, they lifted their overall record to a phenomenal 11-2.
“It feels fantastic to come out this weekend and really prove we’re a skilled group,” said Gleason. “We played as a team instead of a bunch of individuals.”
Testing Parkside early and often, the Eagles utilized their height and aggression led by 6’2 junior Amber Meyer. Despite a 21-22 deficit in Game 1, sophomore Addie Kramer delivered two clutch kills to put the Rangers on top. After an outright loser off the usually dependable hand of Meyer, the Rangers held on by a count of 27-25. Parkside’s standout libero Stacie Bower would showcase her defensive brilliance by shoveling out five digs.
For the second straight match Parkside passing struggled in Game 2. Against Missouri, the Rangers turned to veteran leadership and crafty play-making; facing Crookston however, they simply out-slugged the Eagles in every offensive category. Despite a late Crookston surge, UW would hold on by the comfortable margin of 25-19. Gleason led Parkside in kills for the second straight game slamming home five into the hardwood.
Tied at 11 to open up Game 3, the Rangers would take control fueled by the energy provided from senior Jennifer Johnson’s block and three kills. After benefiting from a 7-1 run, Parkside put the game into cruise control defeating the Eagles for the third straight by a score of 25-22 completing the 3-0 match win in style.
Bower anchored the Parkside defense by contributing eight digs and chipped in with three assists. Setters Andrea Gust and Courtney Stack of the Rangers amassed 15 assists a piece. Freshman Caroline Langer would add six kills, three digs, and an assist of her own. Crookston’s Meyer would accumulate a match high 16 kills.
Parkside returns to action Tuesday evening with a scheduled bout at 7:00 pm. They host Saint Xavier University at UW-Parkside in Kenosha for their final non-conference match before engaging in a stretch of nine straight conference games.
According to Benoit, “It was a successful weekend competing against some of the top programs the area has to offer. Let’s take this momentum and carry it over into the rest of the season.”