MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Sept. 1–8)
PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lancaster 3, Prairie du Chien 1
By A.J. Gates, Herald Independent
LANCASTER – Coming into the 2021 prep volleyball season, it had been seven long years since a varsity team from Lancaster had won a conference match against a Southwest Wisconsin Conference opponent.
The conference losing streak had reached 68 matches, and the seniors on this year’s team were in fifth grade when the Flying Arrows beat Dodgeville Sept. 4, 2014.
In a highly anticipated match last Thursday night, Lancaster’s conference losing streak was finally snapped with a 3–1 (25–22, 25–18, 23–25, 25–23) victory over visiting Prairie du Chien, giving fifth-year head coach Carla Hentrich her first conference coaching victory.
“I am extremely excited to finally get a conference win,” said coach Hentrich. “I couldn’t be more proud of the girls. The excitement they showed after the match said it all. These girls deserve a lot of credit, as most of them have been playing club volleyball in the off-season since they were in middle school."
Coming into Thursday night’s match, the team’s inspirational quote of the week was, “Wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction.”
In a sport that hinges mostly on momentum, the Flying Arrows clearly took control of Thursday’s match by winning the first two sets with scores of 25–22 and 25–18.
After rallying late in the first set to collect the win, Lancaster jumped out to a lead in the second and maintained a comfortable cushion to secure a 2–0 advantage.
In the third set, the Flying Arrows held a 23–22 lead late in the contest, but then gave up three straight points to the Blackhawks, who pulled out a 25–23 victory to extend the match.
Early in the fourth set, Prairie du Chien jumped out to a 4–1 advantage, but the Flying Arrows clawed their way back into it and eventually rally for a 25–23 victory.
Realizing they had just broken a seven-year losing streak, Lancaster’s players, coaches and fans celebrated with screams of excitement, lots of hugs, and smiles lasted the entire night.
“I commended them on how they didn’t hang their heads when they got down,” said coach Hentrich of the third set. “They pushed through it and did great things to get back in the match. That’s a huge step forward for this team. One thing I stress to my players is that they have to play from the heart. They have to want to put the time in, they have to want to get better, they have to want to be the best they can be.”
Leading Lancaster with 23 kills was senior outside hitter Hope Williams, while senior setter Abbi Martin dished out 35 assists to go along with a team-high 19 digs and two service aces. Juniors Sadie Hollander and Alaina Stader also had two aces each, while senior Tatianna Place and junior Kelsey NeCollins each had a team-high two blocks.
With a SWC record of 1–0, the Flying Arrows traveled to Richland Center this past Tuesday night, and will host the Lancaster tournament Saturday.They will be back at home Tuesday night when they host Dodgeville.
With the conference losing streak now broken, coach Hentrich has her sights set clearly on those matches remaining on the schedule, and isn’t satisfied with Thursday’s victory. As a coach, I will continue to expect even more out of them. I will continue to push them to another level. As soon as they start to get comfortable, you have to give them bigger goals to meet. That’s what makes a good team a great team.”