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Panthers pick up pair of MBC wins

Ellsworth sophomore Avery O'Neil jumps up for the ball during the Panthers' Thursday, Sept. 14, home match against St. Croix Central. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Ellsworth junior MacKenzie Kummer strikes the ball back toward the St. Croix Central side of the court during a Sept. 14 Middle Border Conference match in Ellsworth. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
The Panthers' MacKenzie Kummer attempts to block a hit by St. Croix Central's Katie Koerper during a Middle Border Conference match held in Ellsworth on Thursday, Sept. 14. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

The Ellsworth Panthers volleyball team picked up a pair of Middle Border Conference wins over Amery and Somerset to build momentum heading into a pair of road games this week.

The Panthers defeated Amery 3-1, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Amery, after overcoming a tough second set to earn the win.

"It is always nice to get a couple conference wins in the same week. We were pretty streaky against Amery," coach Nicole Vande Berg said. "We got stuck in a rotation against a tough server from Amery that cost us the second set, but bounced back from that in the third game and took care of things much better. Overall we played pretty good defense in that game."

Ellsworth won the first set 25-19 before losing a close second set 25-23. After that, the Panthers were able to hold on in both of the final two sets to claim 25-20 and 26-24 wins. Mackenzie Kummer led the team with 19 kills, six blocks and three aces. Kaitlyn Nugent led the team with 29 assists, while Clarity Kummer picked up 10 digs to lead the team.

After holding off the Spartans to take the first set of the Panther's Thursday, Sept. 21 match against Somerset 25-23, the team was able to overpower the Spartans in the final two sets by scores of 25-13 and 25-14.

"Against Somerset on Thursday we played very well in the second and third sets. We played some of the best volleyball we have all season. We serve received really well, and our offense looked really good. Mackenzie Kummer was pretty much unstoppable in that game," Vande Berg said. "She was hitting over Somerset's block and our defense was passing so well our setter could get her the ball anywhere she wanted to. We had a great week of practice and it was good to see the intensity transfer to a game. Hopefully we can continue to build on that from now until the end of the season."

Mackenzie Kummer led the team with 18 kills, three aces and three blocks, while Nugent once again led the team in assists with 35. Clarity Kummer had 12 digs in the game.

Up next for the Panthers is Baldwin-Woodville on Tuesday, Sept. 26, and New Richmond on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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