Shawano reigns at home invitational

Hawks off to strong start this season
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Photo by Jody Ward Shawano Community High School junior Bayleigh Laabs sets the ball for senior Brandi Gueths at the Shawano Invitational on Saturday. Shawano went 5-0 to win the tournament.

Photo by Jody Ward Shawano Community High School senior Averi Vomastic jumps to attack at the Shawano Invitational on Saturday. The Hawks won the six-team tournament.

Shawano started its season with a goal to win its home invitational, which the Hawks accomplished Saturday by defeating five other teams.

“This win is special for us,” Shawano head coach Breanna Young said. “We put in a lot of practice going into this tournament so we could get the victory at home. That was one of our biggest aims this year.”

Shawano started the day with a 25-19 and 25-22 sweep over Rhinelander, then beat Oconto, 21-25, 25-22; 15-11; Peshtigo, 25-20, 25-16; Oconto Falls, 22-25, 25-19, 15-9; and Wausau West, 25-18, 26-28, 15-11.

“It was a tough competition all around, but that final match was our toughest,” Young said. “They fought back just as hard as us, so we had to keep our energy up and fight through the very last set.”

Shawano entered the invite coming off a victory in its home-opener the previous week, which Young said was critical in the team’s success Saturday.

“The home opener helped us determine areas we needed to practice and focus on coming into this,” Young said. “It also allowed us to gauge the feeling of being at home.”

The home atmosphere was a driving factor in energizing the Hawks throughout the matches.

“The energy goes both ways,” Young said. “The crowd can feel how hard the girls are fighting, and they reciprocate the energy, which the girls feed off of.”

The Hawks (10-4, 1-0 Bay Conference) posted impressive numbers on both offense and defense.

Bayleigh Laabs led the Hawks in assists with 90, followed by Kyra Klement with five. Klement led in digs with 50, followed by Julia Klement with 44, Averi Vomastic with 32, Laabs with 27, Niki Hoefs with 11 and Rachel Reed with seven.

Vomastic tallied 44 kills, followed by Klement with 34, Tori DePerry with 15, and Laabs and Reed each with 12. Block kill leaders were Reed with 18, DePerry with 15, Vomastic with eight and Klement with six.

Hoefs recorded nine aces on the day.

“The girls are really excited about the win, but they understand the mentality of approaching every next game with a clear mindset,” Young said. “We need to stay confident, but humble. We need to take every opportunity we can to learn and improve on the small things we can fix to win the next match.”