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Volleyball: Plum City swings past Pepin

PLUM CITY -- You don't always need a big spike or an ace to get a prep volleyball team fired up. Sometimes a great play on defensive does just as well.

Plum City demonstrated that Tuesday evening in the first round of the WIAA Division 4 Regional Tournament and it helped the Blue Devils sweep aside Pepin 25-16, 25-12, 25-22.

Two defensive plays occurred in Game 2. The score was tied 7-7 when Plum City defenders on two separate volleys dived to the floor to keep the ball from landing. Both balls got over the net and when Pepin couldn't answer the momentum swung towards the Blue Devils.

Plum City outscored the Lakers 18-4 after that and took a 2-0 edge in the match.

"It's really exciting when you can make a play on defense that can get the ball over the net and keep a rally going," Plum City's Ashley Hinrichs said. "You keep going strong that way."

Hinrichs had two big defensive plays of her own: She recorded a pair of blocks, the second of which was the final point of the match.

"It was nice to see us tonight never giving up on the ball," Plum City coach Nanette Murray said. "That's going to help us in the future."

Plum City's offense clicked as well as it had all season in Games 2 and 3 with Ashley Hinrichs up front scoring kill after kill, Amanda Daleiden serving and Brittany Hinrichs scoring points as well.

Daleiden finished with 18 service points while Brittany Eckdahl had 14. Both Daleiden and Amanda Van Allen each had 12 digs, and Ashley Hinrichs led the team in kills with 15 while Daleiden had five kills.

"Our passing is much better now than at any time this season," Murray said. "It's something we've worked on very hard in practice and where we've made adjustments throughout the season to improve. The one thing we're doing better is varying our passes."

The win improves Plum City's record to 19-9 as it heads into a semifinals Friday at Spring Valley. The Cardinals went unbeaten in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play.

"The girls very much believe they can beat Spring Valley because they know now the kind of level they have to play at to win and to do so every match," Murray said.

Tasha Heit led the Lakers with nine kills; Casie Schultz tallied six. Erika Johnson posted a team-high 13 digs.

Kylee Haglund finished 100 percent at the service stripe and had one ace for Pepin, who closes the season at 10-18 overall.