Everything was pretty in pink for Westby when they won three straight sets of volleyball in front of its hometown crowd during the annual “Pink Night” on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The Norse defeated Viroqua 25-12, 25-20 and 25-22. Westby also participate in the Holmen Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 9, splitting the day downing Bangor and Mondovi, but falling to Holmen and Baraboo.
Westby 3, Viroqua 0
Westby came out strong in the first set with seniors Jessi Marshall and Michaela Grabowski showing everyone how to get it done. Marshall was strong on the serve and Grabowski was firing bullets across the net at Viroqua. The only tie was at points 1-1. From there the Norse never looked back, with three aces and only one missed serve. In set 1, Grabowski recorded 6 of her 13 overall match kills and 3 of her 7 overall match block kills. Westby won 25-12.
“Pink night is always exciting. Both teams have a lot of fans and the gym is always packed. We had good communication and worked well together,” Head Coach Jenny Luebke said.
Westby didn’t serve as hard in the second set, missing three. Grabowski was still firing on all cylinders with 5 kills and 3 block kills. Marshall and Jada Berra teamed up for 8 digs. Viroqua picked up its pace and stayed close, but just shy with the last tie at 20-20.
“Viroqua is a scrappy team and they dug up our hits well in this game,” Luebke said.
By the final set of this match, Viroqua had adjusted well to Westby’s offense making it difficult for the Norse to find homes in the Blackhawk defense. Westby moved the ball around to its hitters, with Kenzie Von Ruden and Elsa Luebke each firing a trio of kills and Eva Lee, Marshall and Grabowski each adding a pair. Von Ruden and Berra teamed up for 11 digs in the back.
“With a long stretch of away games ahead the team is focused on winning and improving,” Luebke said.
Overall for Westby in the match, Grabowski led with 13 kills and 7 block kills; Marshall 12 digs; and Kiarra Keenlance had 16 assists.
Westby split its wins and losses at the Holmen tournament losing to a strong Baraboo team and a fast Holmen team, but picked up wins over Mondovi and Bangor.
Baraboo 2, Westby 0
Westby started slow in its first game falling 25-13 and came up short in the second set falling 25-22. In the first set, the Norse were off target from the first serve, struggled at the net and didn’t set the ball well. In the second set, Westby blockers had better timing, but still struggled with passing, which hurt offensively.
For Westby: kills, Grabowski, Keenlance and Von Ruden 3 each; assists, Lauren Berg 6; digs, Berra 5.
Westby 2, Mondovi 1
Westby’s slump continued in it first set with Mondovi pulling out a 27-25 win. The Norse found its momentum back in the final two sets, winning 25-17 and dominating the tie breaker 15-5.
Grabowski was able to get her hands on the ball to some impressive block kills in the second set which jump started the Norse offensively.
For Westby: kills, Grabowski 5; assists, Keenlance 11; digs, Berra 10; block kills; Grabowski 5.
Holmen 2, Westby 0
A breakdown in communication resulted in poor choices when executing plays for the Norse against the Vikings. Westby struggled with errors, which resulted in points for Holmen who went on to win set one 25-13. Westby came back in the second set with a stronger middle presence when Grabowski and Lee teamed for a trio of block kills, but still came up short falling 25-22.
For Westby: kills, Grabowski 4; assists, Lauren Berg 4; digs, Keenlance 10; block kills; Grabowski and Lee, 3 each.
Westby 2, Bangor 1
Westby faced Bangor in the bronze bracket in its final match of the day. Once again Westby’s first set lack of attack and broken communication slump continued losing 25-16. The Norse started its second set slow, but rallied back to win 25-20, and held on in the tie breaker to win 15-13.
For Westby: kills, Von Ruden 8; assists, Keenlance 12; digs, Berra 17.
Luebke said the Holmen Invite was eye opening and revealed weaknesses that the team needs to work on with a long stretch of away games on the horizon. Westby traveled to West Salem on Tuesday, Sept. 12 and Black River Falls on Thursday, Sept. 14. They are in the Baraboo Invite on Sept. 16, at Arcadia on Sept. 19 and at Onalaska Luther on Sept. 21.