PREP VOLLEYBALL: W-M dispatches Litchfield in a sweep, wins Wright County West outright

WATERTOWN — Watertown-Mayer coach Andrea Raser wasn’t very happy with the laundry list of mistakes her team gave to Litchfield in their first meeting earlier this week. A 3-0 clear-out of the Dragons in the home gym Nov. 19 was a much better indicator of the now 11-0 Royals, who will finish out the shortened regular season against Mound-Westonka Nov. 20.

“You give a team 47 points and you still win, imagine what happens when you really play ball,” Raser said after the game.

Both teams were energized Thursday night, a fraction of it likely due to the new COVID-19 restrictions set Wednesday that will end the volleyball season after this Friday night. W-M knocked off Litchfield 3-1 Nov. 16 in a tighter match than the set scores showed. They responded with a sweep (25-22, 25-17, 25-19) of the rematch in dominating fashion.

The race to 10 points in each set was close, and then the Royals front line and outside hitters started to warm up. Paige Thibault had three separate cannon shots for kills on the left side that kept up the pressure all night and Mallory Czinano had a versatile game at middle blocker. In the middle of set two, it looked like Litchfield was going on a big run to take the lead. A 5-0 burst from the Royals during a couple incredibly long and effort-filled volleys crumpled the comeback. W-M rolled in set three 25-19 to finish it off with another solid offensive performance.

“It wasn’t just the players on the court,” Raser said. “It was everyone on the bench, as a team.”

With a clear-cut Wright County West conference win in the bag, Friday’s match against Mound-Westonka, which Raser said will hopefully be in the newly reduxed main gym, is the final step toward a perfect season.

“The best thing we can do without playoffs now is go for an undefeated season,” she said. “How many teams get to say that at the end?”

Paige Thibault led the way with 15 kills and a hit percentage of .364, while Mallory Czinano and Ashley Olson each added six kills. Libby Burns and Kate Thibault combined for 30 digs and made some spectacular diving saves throughout. Natalie Ernhart orchestrated the offense with 31 assists. Once again, every dressed player got in the game, and every senior was able to start on their Senior Night.

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