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Colby VB eyes playoffs

The Colby Hornets were up against two of the most difficult opponents any team in central Wisconsin could face last week, taking on Fall Creek at home on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and then Columbus Catholic in Marshfield on Friday.

The Hornets had faced Fall Creek just a few days before on their home court, and the Crickets dominated from start to finish. With a few days to watch film and prepare, Colby executed at a much higher level than their Oct. 10 match.

“I don’t know if we had any aces tonight, but we just served tougher and gave them a little more difficult first touch,” head coach Nathan Larsen said after the match.

After failing to score in double digits in their first meeting, the Hornets achieved that feat in the first set, falling 25-13. Colby faltered in the second as Fall Creek’s firepower set the tone early.

When Colby tried to get tight to the net, the Crickets exploited open spaces with shots that led to the Hornets struggling to get in proper position. The 25-8 second set was a good lesson in court awareness, Larsen would later say.

“Your eyes shouldn’t go just up to the net, they should watch what the other team is doing, watch where they are hitting from and what their arms are doing,” Larsen said. “Just being aware of what’s going on at the other side of the net can help us be prepared and anticipate the tips and little trick plays.”

The Hornets played some of their best volleyball of the year in the final set. Colby began to use their defense to extend points and draw errors.

“I thought we played defense extremely well tonight. I don’t know how many digs offhand, but we had to have been up there,” Larsen said.

Colby lost the third set 25-17, but the 38 combined points in all three sets was much better than Saturday’s 24 points.

Lexi Underwood, Trista Meyer and Emma Peavey all finished with three kills. Olivia Vollrath had a team high four kills. Brooke Suckow tallied a team high 11 set assists. Peavey recorded a team high 14 digs, Brett Schmitt had 11 digs and Underwood recorded nine digs.

A year ago the Colby Hornets were out of sorts and struggling to find an identity after finishing 2-16, dropping every single conference match as they finished dead last in the Eastern Cloverbelt.

A year later and the Hornets volleyball program was giving Columbus Catholic all it could handle as each team battled it out for the Eastern Cloverbelt crown.

“My very first practice I talked about our goals for the year, and our biggest goal was to beat Columbus,” Colby head coach Nathan Larsen said.

The Dons took the first set 25-16, but Colby stayed in the hunt. The Dons took the second set 25-18, and then hung tough on for a 25-17 third set.

Emma Peavey led Colby with seven kills. Lexi Underwood had four. Brooke Suckow had 11 set assists. Peavey also had two aces and a team high 15 digs. Brett Schmitt collected seven digs.

The Hornets will finish second in the Eastern Cloverbelt, but more than the placement, it’s the improvement of his players that has Larsen excited for Colby’s possibilities down the road.

“That’s awesome and real exciting. It’s been so fun coaching these girls this year and having all these seniors and having them play as hard as they have been. It’s been a lot of fun.”