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Lady Birds tame Bulldogs for first victory
Darl VB deadzone color
DARLINGTON SENIOR Kelsey Wiegel (#13) tries to make a diving save on a perfectly placed ball during Thursdays SWAL volleyball match against Southwestern. The ball dropped in the middle of the Lady Redbirds court for a point.

    DARLINGTON – The first victory this season for Darlington came with authority as the host Redbirds had their way with Boscobel en route to a 3-0 SWAL sweep at DHS on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
    “It was definitely needed. It’s hard to go out night after night and get beat. It’s hard for me as a coach, and it has to be even harder for the players. This victory is something that could give us a boost,” said Darlington head coach Pam Ritchie.
    The Redbirds (1-5 in SWAL play, 1-9 overall) took control early by jumping all over the Bulldogs in the first set, 25-11, to gain a boatload of confidence.
    The ‘Birds kept it up in set two, posting a 25-20 decision to grab a 2-0 advantage; and they put the match away in set three, blasting the ‘Dawgs by a score of 25-13 for the sweep.
    “We didn’t go five games. We didn’t do it in four. We got it done in three. I congratulate the girls for doing that,” Ritchie stated. “We really served well and did the little things. A lot of times we’ll let the other team go off on big (scoring) runs. Tonight, we didn’t let Boscobel do that to us.”
    Senior outside hitter Cassidy Cox hammered down a match-high eight kills and served up five aces to lead the Redbirds. Senior setter Mikayla Riley added five service aces along with a team-high 15 assists, while senior libero Anna Fitzsimons cleaned up 15 digs and senior middle hitter Kelsey Wiegel recorded a block to aid the victory.  
    At Hazel Green, on Thursday, Sept. 13, the host Southwestern Wildcats used a strong night at the service line to sweep the Lady Redbirds, 3-0 (15-25, 12-25, 15-25), in a SWAL contest.
    The Wildcats (5-1) employed a combination of blistering spikes and well-placed tips to pull on top of the Redbirds in each set, and then utilized some strong service runs by several servers to put away the sweep.
    “Above all, we’re a pretty good serve-receive team. Tonight, they really challenged us. Our serve-receive was a little off, but they also had some nice serves,” said Coach Pam Ritchie. “Even though we didn’t win tonight, we played a lot better than we have played in previous matches. Southwestern is a good team.”
    Morgan Kuhl and Dorothy Marty each had eight kills, while Kelsey Batteram recorded seven service aces and eight digs for the ‘Cats. Zoe Vaassen had 32 assists for the hosts.
    Mikayla Riley distributed 12 assists to lead the Redbirds. Anna Fitzsimons came up with 10 digs and Cassidy Cox nailed four kills for the ‘Birds.
    Darlington hosts SWAL matches against Cuba City on Thursday, Sept. 20, and Mineral Point on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Boscobel………  11     20     13
Darlington.........  25     25     25

Darlington.........  15     12     15
Southwestern…  25     25     25