Chargers sweep Bonduel

Witt-Birn’s experience helps secure win
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Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School junior Grace Petcka attempts to attack the ball over Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s block in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss in Wittenberg.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School sophomore Megan Zeitler serves during Tuesday’s 3-0 loss in Wittenberg.

Bonduel fought hard but could not win a set against Wittenberg-Birnamwood in a Central Wisconsin Conference-East match Tuesday in Wittenberg.

The match was tight from the start, with several lead changes, before the Chargers (3-14, 1-0 CWC) emerged with the sweep, 25-18, 25-17, 25-18.

“Historically, Wittenberg’s been at the top of the conference,” Bonduel head coach Kim Strayer said, “so we knew coming in here that we were going to have to fight.”

Fight, they did. Bonduel kept all of the sets close, and the teams played long rallies throughout the match.

“We felt prepared for it. They practice hard, there’s no down time,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood head coach Becky Rew said. “It’s one drill to the next and just constant. If there’s a dead ball, I’m throwing in the next one right away so they don’t have a chance to break. That makes them trained for the long rallies.”

Bonduel finds practicing long rallies challenging with an eight-person team, compared to Witt-Birn’s 12.

“It’s really hard with our size to run those rallies in practice,” Strayer said. “I need to focus on just feeding them one ball after another to try imitating long rallies, because they’re so hard to replicate otherwise.”

It also helped that a majority of Witt-Birn’s starters are seniors, while Bonduel has a relatively young group.

“Our girls are very close because of their experience together,” Rew said, “so you can see that it translates to their cohesiveness on the court. They moved where they needed to be and didn’t leave any holes, so they’re very connected.”

Strayer was impressed with the Bears’ play, too.

“They did so many things well,” Strayer said. “They attacked the ball well, covered the court well against some hard-hitters, didn’t miss very many serves, but they have little things they need to clean up to get past teams like Wittenberg.”

Bonduel juniors Mckenzie Wollenberg and Grace Petcka each tallied five kills. Petcka also recorded 13 digs, followed by Wollenberg with 12 and sophomore Megan Zeitler with nine.

Bonduel (4-9, 0-1 CWC) will be at home Thursday against Amherst (3-0).

“We’re looking forward to it, because it definitely has an effect on the play,” Strayer said. “The girls are familiar and used to everything in our gym, so that’s where they feel most comfortable. And they can feed off the fans, so that always gives them more energy.”