Hadley Olivotti (No. 7) tips a ball past the outstretched arms of a Medford defender during last Tuesday’s Great Northern Conference matchup on the road.
Hadley Olivotti (No. 7) tips a ball past the outstretched arms of a Medford defender during last Tuesday’s Great Northern Conference matchup on the road.
The Northland Pines volleyball team played host to the Great Northern Conference (GNC) this past Saturday in the first leg of the league tournament.

“This is for the conference standings,” said coach Julie Smith. “There is only one team every year that we see home and away. This year for us it’s Mosinee. Then we see the rest of them at the conference tournament.”

The Eagles opened last Saturday’s meet by taking the first two sets from Antigo by comfortable margins. However, Antigo won the next two, setting up a decisive fifth set which the Red Robins won 15-9 on the strength of a 13-3 run down the stretch.

“We were playing really well. Antigo made some adjustments and when we tried to adjust to them we just went flat and stopped playing our game,” said Smith.

The Eagles next played Tomahawk, which along with Mosinee is one of the conference powers again this season according to Smith.

The Hatchets rolled in the first set 25-9. Pines played much better the next two sets but dropped both by identical 25-18 scores.

The Eagles finished up the day with Lakeland in their final match. With the first set tied 9-9, the T-Birds went on a 16-7 run to win 25-16. They took the second set then 25-14. In the third, Lakeland jumped ahead 9-2, though Pines would rally back to push the end of the set tight, eventually falling by four, 25-21.

“Finding consistency now is really the tough part,” said Smith. “One more game and we’re halfway through the season.”

Smith said her main job now is to keep some sort of momentum moving ahead with her team who has shown flashes of good play, but just has yet to sustain it through many of their matches.

“This team has ability, and we have seen really good volleyball from them at times,” said Smith. “It’s just a matter of having that will to win.”

Tomahawk had the best day at the tournament, recording three straight sweeps.

They along with Mosinee sit atop the league standings with identical 5-0 records. Tomahawk however has yet to drop a set in league play as they are a perfect 15-0 in their five matches. Behind them rests Medford (4-2), Lakeland (2-3), Antigo (2-3), Rhinelander (0-5) and Pines (0-5).

Prior to the first leg of the conference meet, the Pines volleyball team traveled to Medford last Tuesday where they held a lead in all three of the sets they’d eventually fall in, losing 3-0 to the Raiders.

In set one, a 10-1 run ended with Medford winning 25-19. The Eagles tried to rally from 17-7 down in the second set, but Medford again won 25-19. Pines played tough in the third set, but a late 6-0 run led the Raiders to a 25-22 win and the sweep.

“We played so well in the first set, and I thought we were going to beat them. We made a good adjustment according to their play, but went flat and got swept,” said Smith.

The Northland Pines volleyball team played host to Rhinelander, Sept. 20. They will be off the remainder of the week before traveling to Tomahawk, Sept. 27.