Volleyball: Niagara beats STAA for 1st M&O win

Niagara's Jasmine Racine (1) spikes the ball at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy on Tuesday in Niagara, Wis. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

NIAGARA, Wis. — Niagara broke into the M&O Conference volleyball win column Tuesday.

The Badgers (4-11, 1-3), led by sophomore Alyssa Cretton’s nine kills, spilled St. Thomas Aquinas Academy 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-15).

“I thought we played well,” said Niagara coach Carol St. Arnauld. “We did some really good things out there.”

Sophomore Faith Borchardt had five of the Badgers’ 17 ace serves. Juniors Jasmine Racine and Jessica Oratch along with freshman Bailey Pearson combined for 12 kills.

“Some of the stuff we’ve been harping on in practice we’re starting to see happen in the game,” said St. Arnauld, citing court position as one of the points of emphasis in practice. “Communication still has to get better. My back row has to talk to my front row, there’s no doubt about it.”

The veteran coach also wants things simplified on the court.

“We have to make something out of a play instead of trying to make a miraculous spike that you’re never going to make,” St. Arnauld said. “We have to keep it in play, get it over and then regroup. I’m starting to see more of that.”

In the third set, Niagara pushed its lead to 20-10 with Racine at the service line and 5-foot-10 junior Cassie Gill playing well at the net. Gill followed with a two-hand shot and a block to boost the Badgers’ advantage to 23-11.

Cretton closed out the match with an ace serve.

“I think we’re just going to get better as they get more confidence,” St. Arnauld said of her young team made up primarily of juniors and sophomores. “I like where we’re headed.”

Kianna Bulin’s four kills and three assists led the Marinette school (2-2 M&O), which had just six players and no reserves. Livia Benson had three kills and six assists.

The Badgers continue M&O play Thursday in Suring against the host Eagles and STAA.

“Come in (for practice), work hard and take two more Thursday,” St. Arnauld said. “That’s kind of the game plan.”

Summary:

Jasmine Racine — 3 service aces, 5 kills, 5 assists, 3 digs

Alyssa Cretton — 1 ace, 9 kills, 5 digs

Bailey Broullire — 1 dig

Jessica Oratch — 4 kills, 1 assist

Jaida Maki — 2 kills, 1 assist, 1 assist

Julia Brown — 3 aces, 16 assists, 1 dig

Jayden Payette — 1 ace

Isabel Wells — 1 ace, 1 dig

Faith Borchardt — 5 aces, 2 aces, 5 digs

Cassie Gill — 2 aces, 4 blocks, 1 dig

Olivia Brasure — 1 dig

Bailey Pearson — 1 ace, 3 kills, 1 assist, 3 digs

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