By Dan Truttschel

Sports Correspondent

The victories continue to be tough to come by for the Wilmot girls volleyball team.

But the Panthers have made strides – now they just have to take the next step.

Wilmot dropped three matches the past week, including a 25-14, 25-14, 25-21 non-conference loss Sept. 22 to visiting Kenosha Bradford.

Earlier in the week, the Panthers fell to 0-4 in the Southern Lakes Conference with a 25-6, 25-10, 25-10 setback to state-ranked Burlington.

In the match with Bradford, inconsistent passing was the main issue, Wilmot coach Lindsey Gruber said.

“We didn’t have a very good passing day,” she said. “The third game, we made it close. The thing I was happy about is that they never gave up.

“We had more points in that last game than the other two, so they still continued to play.”

Gruber has seen steady improvement, and now she wants her team to find a way to take the next step.

“They’re actually playing the entire game now,” she said. “They’re playing to stay with every team. We have to find that drive (to finish). We started well every game this week.

“We just have to make sure that we believe in ourselves and know we can finish the game and aren’t just here to play. That’s what we need to work on.”

Sarah Vozel was perfect on all eight serving attempts for the Panthers. Other statistical leaders were Lindsey Orre with six digs, three aces and 15 for 15 serving and Caitlyn Haag with three blocks.

Against Burlington, the powerful Demons, who have made two straight trips to the WIAA Division 1 State Tournament, were in control from the start.

“The first game, the girls were very intimidated,” Gruber said. “I just told them they need to go out there and play our game. The girls really went out there and tried.

“Obviously, Burlington is a phenomenal team. But we made it to double digits the second and third game. That was a goal for us. As far as blocking and attacking, our game really came together.”

Haag had six blocks for the Panthers, followed by Brittany Moore with two kills and Orre with four aces and 10 for 12 serving.

Orre’s recent play has been a highlight for the Panthers, Gruber said.

“She’s doing really well,” Gruber said. “She is one who I don’t give a zone to serve to. She knows where to go, she sees the hole and goes where I would pick. She has a very aggressive and consistent serve, which is something we really need.”

The Panthers opened the week with a 25-23, 25-18, 25-12non-conference loss to visiting Grant (Ill.) in a match that Gruber said her team had plenty of chances to win.

Wilmot saw a first-game lead disappear, and from that point, it was an uphill climb, she said.

 
 

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