by AMELIA WEDEMEYER
Disappointment was evident on the faces of the Winona Senior High School (WSHS) Winhawks varsity volleyball team last Thursday, October 9, when the team lost their last home match of the season to Northfield High School. “It was a hard loss, definitely,” said WSHS junior Hallee Hoeppner, who is one of the team’s three captains. “We wanted to win for our seniors.”
The Winhawks conceded three out of the four sets played, losing the first game in a close 21-25, winning the second set 25-11, and losing the third and fourth sets 17-25 and 13-25, respectively. Hoeppner led the Winhawks with 21 kills, while sophomore Maria Appicelli recorded 43 assists and sophomore Rhiannon Reinardy finished the night with 30 digs. Hoeppner and sophomore captain Abby Winter each had two ace serves, while Reinardy and Appicelli both recorded one. As of Thursday’s game, the Winhawks had a conference record of four wins and six losses.
Although Senior Night brought out a sizable crowd to the WSHS gym, the momentum of the game seemed to shift in Northfield’s favor after the second set. “I felt like we couldn’t quite connect,” said head coach Amber Mlynczak after the loss. “Game two went well, but then we relapsed. We need to start connecting better with each other.”
Hoeppner agreed, adding that the team plays best when the energy is high and communication is consistent. “After our communication fails, we fall apart, our runs [become] short and we dig ourselves into holes,” Hoeppner explained.
Mlynczak attributed the loss to a chain of events set off by slow transitions to the net and sometimes sluggish movement on defense. “Because we were a step slower, the passes were shorter and the setters had less options,” she said. “We need quicker, faster transitions.”
Although the night did not end up as the Winhawks volleyball team had hoped it would, Mlynczak noted that despite the tough loss, the team will use the match as motivation for the remaining games of the season. “This group of girls is competitive,” Mlynczak said of her team’s strength. “They take losses hard, and that can be hard to teach young players. Because [this team is] competitive, they know they have to get better, which is a very positive attribute.”
Senior night celebrated senior captain Jadyn Speltz, as well as senior student managers Emillee Morrison and Hailey Tarras.