SPARTA—The Tomah High School volleyball has an issue with sluggish starts.

Tomah was slow out of the gate at Janesville and Sparta to open the season, and the poor start at Sparta resulted in a 25-19, 29-27, 16-25, 28-26 loss in the Timberwolves’ Mississippi Valley Conference opener Tuesday at Sparta High School.

“The girls started a little slow,” Tomah coach Sarah Walters said. “We didn’t execute our offense like we need to.”

Sparta led by as many as eight points in the first set. The Spartans never amassed a lead that big in any of the next three games, but winning the first set and surviving three set points in the second set left the Timberwolves with very little margin of error the rest of the evening.

Tomah dominated the third set and rallied from a 20-16 deficit to take a 25-24 lead in the fourth set after a Savannah Murphy kill. However, the Spartans staved off match point and took advantage of two unforced Tomah errors to close out the match.

Walters said Tomah’s passing wasn’t crisp early in the match.

“It wasn’t that our passes were horrible, they just weren’t up to the net,” Walters said. “They were to the 10-foot line, which doesn’t allow you to open up your offense.”

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Murphy led the Timberwolves with 20 kills, and Alyssa Whaley added 13.

Ella Plueger led the setters with 24 assists, Lily Redcloud registered 15 digs, and Lauren Noth delivered five service aces.

Sparta improved to 1-1 in MVC play.

At the two-day Janesville Tournament, Walters said the Timberwolves “had a really rough day on Friday, and on Saturday the girls played really well.”

The Timberwolves took first place in the Silver bracket by winning all four of their matches Saturday. They defeated Portage, Lancaster, Walworth Big Foot and Delavan-Darien.

Tomah opens the home season Thursday, Sept. 5 with a matchup vs. Holmen. The varsity reserve and junior varsity contests start at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity at 7 p.m.

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Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at steve.rundio@lee.net.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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