By Brian Besch
Needing a district win, Onalaska volleyball did so in three sets over Shepherd Tuesday by the lake.
Tied at 6-6 in the opening set, Onalaska rolled off five straight points on their way to a 25-14 win. The second set was never in doubt, as Onalaska took a 23-4 lead before winning 25-12.
In the final game, the Lady Cats looked like they were on their way for the easy sweep, up 9-3. However, Shepherd came back to tie the game at 20. After several ties and lead changes, Onalaska would take the match in three with a 26-24 final.
“We are 3-5 in district right now. Realistically, we should be 5-3,” Onalaska head coach Danna Mitschke said. “We went five sets with Trinity, and we should have beaten them in four. We went four sets with New Waverly and we should have beat them. We beat them in the first set and then we just fell off. We have great moments, and then the wheels come off every now and then. We get comfortable and then we kind of sit back. Then, the urgency hits and sometimes we can dig our way out of the hole, but sometimes we can’t.”
The 3-5 record puts Onalaska tied for fifth place in District 23-3A. They are not out of the playoff picture, but will need a strong second half of district play to obtain one of the four coveted spots.
Every player on the Lady Cat varsity roster gets time on the floor, something Mitschke feels is important.
“I try to do it whenever I can, and I’ve really been successful every game this season,” she said. “I tried to do that because I am trying to grow the younger ones. They need an opportunity to see the ball moving at that speed, because it is completely different than anything they’ve seen before. They need an opportunity to make some mistakes and to grow. I am all about trying to grow everyone as much as we can.”
Mitschke says the team has made tremendous strides from just the beginning of the year.
“I think we are steadily getting better. We are adding more skills and more things that we are asking them to do, and they are able to take them and put them in play. We’ve been working a lot on blocking and cover block, and things like that, because we don’t have a gigantic, tall power hitter. Defense is where we are going to cover ourselves quite a bit. I can’t ask them to work any harder than what they are working.”
Friday the team will be in Crockett, then returns home for a Tuesday match with Trinity.