TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

It was back to business for the Lady Spartan volleyball team Tuesday night.
After Sparta dropped a five-set match to La Crosse Aquinas in its season opener and won just four of 10 matches at last week’s Great River Sprawl in Onalaska, head coach Dave Waraxa asked his team to adopt more of a business-like approach to volleyball.
“We had a very detailed discussion as to how we want to look,” said Waraxa, who decided to sport a tie for Tuesday’s Mississippi Valley Conference match at La Crosse Logan.
Waraxa also changed things up in team huddles, opting to focus on what’s about to happen on the floor instead of what just happened on the floor.
“We wanted to treat every opportunity and every play as a business. After each set, we wanted to come together, cheer, break and run to the bench,” he offered.
The plan worked to perfection, as Sparta easily dispensed of the Rangers in three sets to even its MVC mark at 1-1 and improve its overall record to 5-7.
“It was huge for us to come away with a big win,” said Waraxa. “But, more importantly, I think we put some things in place as to how we need to act and learn how to win.”
Sparta had little trouble with host Logan, rolling to a 25-17 victory in the first set of the best-of-five match.
The Lady Spartan spikers opened up an early 4-0 lead over the Rangers in the second set and pulled away for a 25-18 victory to extend their lead to 2-0, before completing the 3-0 sweep with a 25-16 defeat of the Rangers in the third set.
Waraxa liked what he saw from his team, especially in its decision-making process on the offensive side of the net.
“We’re learning how to attack the ball with aggression,” he said.
“We need to know when to take a chance and when not to take a chance,” continued Waraxa. “When we didn’t have a play, we didn’t give up a point trying to do to much. We took acceptable risks and it helped us to control our unforced errors. They were significantly less than in the past.”
Becca Jenkins led the way for the Lady Spartans on offense with 10 kills and four blocks, while Laney Schell and Brienna Gallup added four kills apiece and Callie Ziebell finished with three blocks.
On the defensive side of the net, Maddy Schaller and Kirsten Krause recorded 10 digs apiece, while Olivia Schulz finished with nine for the Lady Spartan spikers.
Setters Schell and Marissa Erickson got credit for 34 and 29 assists, respectively for Sparta.
The Lady Spartan spikers are back in action tonight (Thursday), when they host cross-county rival Tomah in a 7 p.m. MVC match at Sparta’s Alton Ask Gymnasium.

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