Minniecheske leads Tigerton past Bowler

Tigers win final two sets in CWC-North opener
By: 

By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Tigerton’s Monika Minniecheske (13) delivers the match-sealing kill over Bowler’s Kayla Pecore on Tuesday.

Tigerton and Bowler were locked in a back-and-forth Central Wisconsin Conference-North Division battle, with neither team seizing the momentum. Behind a standout night from senior Monika Minniecheske, Tigerton was able to claim the final two sets and down Bowler on Tuesday.

Minniecheske tallied 20 kills to go along with 16 service points and five aces on the night, leading Tigerton to a tight 25-23, 25-27, 25-22, 25-22 victory.

“Monika is one of the most consistent players I’ve ever coached,” Tigerton coach Holly Block said. “Monika’s power (on her spikes) is unbelievable, along with her timing.”

“When they get Monika in the front, she cannot be stopped most of the time,” Bowler coach Brad Brei said. “She is a great player, so the main thing I kept telling our girls was that when she was in the back, that’s when we needed to make our runs.”

Minniecheske had several kills early in the first set to help the Tigers keep pace with a determined Bowler squad. The teams split the first 24 points before the Panthers took a three-point lead.

Tigerton surged ahead while senior Kelsi Shumaker was serving, but Bowler answered and tied the set at 19. After the Panthers grabbed a 23-20 lead, the hosts won the last five points to take the set.

Across the match, Shumaker contributed 19 digs, 13 service points, six kills and four aces.

Bowler shrugged off the first set loss and nabbed an early seven-point advantage in the second set. Tigerton rallied to tie the set at 12.

After going down three points, some solid serving from senior Jada Waters helped Bowler work its way back into the set. After the score was tied at 25, the Panthers took the final two points to win the set and tie the match.

In the second set alone, Bowler junior Kayla Pecore tallied six kills while Waters contributed two critical kills. Pecore finished the night with a team-high 11 kills and 10 digs while Waters had 17 assists, 10 digs and five kills.

Minniecheske had some early kills and senior Jaidan Miller chipped in with strong serving to help Tigerton take a 16-8 advantage in the third set. Bowler battled back behind kills from junior Ireland DeRoos and Waters and a trio of aces by senior Jodi Wolf.

After the visitors tied things at 20, Tigerton took five of the next seven points to close out the set and take control of the match.

“We learned to dig deep and be confident in each other,” Minniecheske said. “We played together, tried to get our sets up and slam it down.”

The senior continued her strong match in the fourth set, piling up several kills during the early stages to again lift Tigerton out to a comfortable lead.

Bowler was able to keep things close behind kills from junior Brooke Theix and more strong serving from Wolf. Tigerton regained the momentum with Minniecheske serving, widening the lead to eight. The visitors made a strong push with Pecore and junior Kyla Kroening serving and took the lead on a Wolf kill.

Minniecheske willed Tigerton to victory from that point, posting a pair of attack kills and a block kill on a 4-0 run by the Tigers.

Tigerton improved to 6-4 overall and is hoping its conference-opening win is the start of a winning streak.

“It’s very big. We know that this first game is very important, 0-and-1 is not a good place to start,” Block said.

“I think it really helps because it gives us confidence for Manawa (on Thursday),” said Miller, who led the Tigers with 14 assists.

Tigerton sophomore Savannah Swartz had 15 digs while sophomore Adrienne Brady finished with 12 service points and six assists.

DeRoos recorded eight kills while Wolf served four aces as Bowler slipped to 5-6 overall.

The Panthers hope to take the same resiliency it showed Tuesday with them the remainder of the season.

“I’m proud of the team, we showed a lot of fight tonight, a lot of spirit,” said Theix, who recorded 13 assists, five kills and three aces. “We had some critical errors that cost us in the last few points of a few sets. I think it comes down to ball control, which we lacked tonight.”

“I said (to the team) they battled hard and to not hang their heads because I saw a lot of good things tonight,” Brei said. “We had our ups-and-downs, so we are going to build off this and go to Menominee on Thursday and hopefully figure it all out.”