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‘Jays stave off ‘Cats in five sets

‘Jays stave off ‘Cats in five sets ‘Jays stave off ‘Cats in five sets

Athens takes second place in crossover

By Casey Krautkramer

The Athens and Edgar varsity volleyball teams dealt each other blows during a heavyweight fight on Tuesday for second place in the Marawood Conference, but it was the Bluejays who outlasted the Wildcats in the fiveset match at Marathon High School.

Athens and Edgar each took second place in their respective Marawood Conference divisions during the regular season, setting up Tuesday’s showdown for second place overall in the conference.

The Bluejays won the first set, 2520, but the Wildcats took the second set, 25-21, to tie the match at one win apiece. Athens won the third set with a more comfortable 26-13 victory, but Edgar battled back to take the fourth set, 25-19, on senior Malia Hoesly’s ace serve for the final point.

Athens sophomore Sophia Coker earned the winning point in the team’s 15-12 victory in the decisive fifth set to win the match. She was still collecting her emotions following her team’s big match win against Edgar.

“It’s so nice when we come together as a team and play our hardest; it just gives me chills,” Sophia Coker said. “Edgar’s been our team’s arch-rival since we’ve been in high school, so it’s exciting to beat Edgar.”

Sophia Coker and her Athens teammates wore ponytails with various colors in their hair, which have a special meaning, during the conference’s second-place match against Edgar.

“They are all different colors because each color represents a different type of cancer,” she said. “We also wore pink socks during our home tournament last weekend, because we want to support women battling cancer, and we especially want to support our assistant coach, Kathy Luther, who has breast cancer and we love her to death.”

Edgar head coach Evan Krebsbach credited Athens for passing well against his squad during Tuesday’s match.

“Athens has a really young and unpredictable team, and its players did a really nice job against us,” he said. “Athens lives and dies off its two outside hitters, Addison Lavicka and Jazelle Hartwig. Athens’ serve receive was indeed solid. I think the match came down to the intangibles and details, and we’ll see, knock on wood, in two weeks if it’s another five-set battle again because that’s what you want in regionals.”

He’s referring to the good chance that Athens and Edgar play each other a second time this season in a WIAA Division 4 regional championship match. Athens is the No. 2 seed and Edgar is No. 3 in their Division 4 sectional. The Bluejays and Wildcats, however, are the top two teams in their regional. Athens begins regional play this Tuesday, Oct. 19, against No. 15 Spencer at home, while Edgar plays on Tuesday against No. 14 Loyal at home.

Athens head coach Tanille Hartwig joked after Tuesday’s match against Edgar that she’s not sure her heart can handle another possible five-set match against the Wildcats in a regional championship on Saturday, Oct. 23, should both squads advance to play each other as expected. She summed up how Athens could beat Edgar again.

“Honestly, the team that’s willing to have its players throw their bodies around on the court and not give up is going to win the match,” she said. “I’ve talked to my girls about volleyball being a game of trying to have more highs than lows, because in volleyball you’re always going to have lows because it’s such an up-anddown momentum game, and this time we just put together a few more highs against Edgar. Athens against Edgar is always a little bit of a rivalry and the girls from each team all know each other off the court, so that always makes for an interesting game too.”

‘Jays win home quad

Athens won its home tournament on Saturday, with match victories against Crandon, Nekoosa and Stevens Point Pacelli. Athens downed Crandon, 25-9 and 25-14. Sophomore Jazelle Hartwig led the Bluejays with four ace serves, while junior Savannah Epping and sophomore Addison Lavicka had three each. Sophia Coker led the team with eight attack kills.

Athens beat Nekoosa, 27-25 and 2519. Epping paced the Bluejays with two aces and 16 digs. Athens defeated Stevens Point Pacelli, 25-19 and 25-20. Jazelle Hartwig led the Bluejays with 13 kills. Athens now has a 23-9 overall match record this season following its Marawood Conference second-place crossover victory against Edgar on Tuesday.

Edgar finished 3-1 in matches at its home volleyball round robin tournament on Saturday. Edgar beat both Bruce and Colby, 2-0 in matches while downing Colby a second time, 2-1. Edgar lost, 2-1, to Abbotsford. Edgar has a 19-5 overall match record this season

DEFENSIVE WALL AT THE NET- Athens sophomores Sydney Coker (4) and Addison Lavicka (11) rise up for a block attempt against Edgar on Tuesday afternoon during the Bluejays’ victory in the Marawood Conference crossover second-place match.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER