Back and forth: Rangers Volleyball squeak past Northern Michigan

In a match that saw 17 ties and four lead changes, the UW Parkside volleyball team was able to manage a victory over an evenly matched Northern Michigan squad, clinching the tiebreak set by a score of 19-17.

“That was a fun win for us. We go into every game expecting a battle, but that was our first five set match of the season,” senior Makenzie Fahnestock said. “I think it showcased our work ethic and heart.”

The way this match turned, being tight, hard fought, and every other adjective that could describe a well-played sports contest, it was basically the way the Rangers saw it going from the onset.

“We expected it to be a tough match,” sophomore Meghan Conley said. “We knew coming in that they had strong hitters from all sides of the court.”

But going into a match with expectations, and having a plan for those expectations are two completely different things. And the Rangers had a plan.

“We expected ourselves to try and slow down their offense while being aggressive on our own side,” Conley said. “We hoped to accomplish keeping the ball in control while maintaining aggressiveness.”

A closely contested win usually comes from key contributions around the entire team. This win was no exception.

Fahnestock finished the match with nine kills, four digs, and three blocks, all contributing to her 10.5 point total. Conley also had an overall point total of 10.5, with five kills and nine blocks.

Freshman setter Lauren Hickson excelled at distributing to her teammates, and is becoming a big help to the team’s success. In total, she racked up 28 assists and 15 digs. She was even able to achieve five kills, three being of the ace variety.

“I love being able to run the offense for what I see will work against the other team. It definitely takes a lot of thinking and strategy,” Hickson said. “I also love feeding my hitters and letting them pound the ball.”

The biggest star of this entire match, however, was freshman Becca Roembke. She put together 12 kills, four aces, and nine digs. This all was totaled up to 16.5 overall points, six points higher than any of her teammates.

“Becca was a key player in the match,” Fahnestock said. “She’s fast and smart with the ball, which keeps their defensive out of system and creates opportunities for us.”

Following this match, Parkside sits with a record of 6-3. For the Rangers, this is an extremely good standing, seeing as they had to face the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Tampa, respectively the number one and three teams in the nation.

“Numbers will be numbers. We have played some tough teams down in Florida and at our own home tournament,” Conley said. “But for still being a relatively young team, I think we handled our competition fairly well.”

This match against Northern Michigan will be the last non-conference game to be played by Parkside for a while, as the conference schedule gets ready to go in under a week. Going into this Great Lakes Valley Conference season, Parkside can only hope to take it game by game, match by match.

“As a team, we hope to keep improving match after match and to make it to the conference tournament near the end of November and then go from there,” Conley said.

To accomplish these goals, Conley feels there is a lot for the team to do.

“We will again have to keep working on the little details of a game to push to the next level,” she said. “Through pushing each other in practice and building team chemistry, we can hopefully reach our goals, and accomplish beyond our goals.”

Article by Dylan O’Brien

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