RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander High School volleyball team did something unprecedented for their program last year: win a conference championship.
Their quest to repeat in the Great Northern Conference got off to a good start Tuesday night at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium, as the Hodags defeated Lakeland in four games.
Three players had double-digit kills for Rhinelander. The Hodags were forced to rally back from a game one defeat to take the 18-25, 25-15, 25-21, 27-25 victory.
The Thunderbirds used a string of nine straight points to pull ahead and put away the opening game.
"We started out really slow, really tight, being our first game at home, especially some of the younger players. It took us a little too long to get into it and we gave away game one," said Rhinelander coach Paul Mildebrandt after the match.
But then the Hodags got going. Rhinelander eased into an offensive and defensive comfort zone to win game two and reverse the momentum.
"We started reading some of their transitions and their weapons a little bit better," Mildebrandt said.
Rhinelander also used some well-placed serves to their advantage. For the match, the Hodags tallied 14 service aces.
The home team ripped off nine points in a row in game three to take a commanding lead, but the Thunderbirds clawed back to tie it at 21-21. Then, Rhinelander flipped the momentum once again, putting away the final four points.
That surge carried over to game four, when the Hodags won the first five points. But Lakeland mounted another comeback, and claimed a 18-16 lead late in the game. After working their way back to a 22-22 tie, Rhinelander squandered two opportunities to end the match before finally putting Lakeland away.
Brianna Gilbert led the Hodags with 16 kills. Returning first-team all-conference selection Katie Berrell added 14, and Riley Aschenbrenner chipped in with ten.
Before the match, RHS athletic director Brian Paulson welcomed back longtime Hodags coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz in a special ceremony. Wawrzynowicz had been tending to an emotional family illness and death, but has made her way back into the program on a limited basis.
"This summer has been really hard on her. But being part of this volleyball program is part of her healing process," Mildebrandt said.
The Hodags next travel to Beaver Dam for a Saturday invitational. They return to Great Northern Conference action next Tuesday, visiting Northland Pines.
RHINELANDER - After the vendors closed up at the end of the first Hodag Farmers Market of the season, several people stayed behind to honor the man who started the market.
That's Douglas Jacobson, and he died last October.
His son, Jonathan Jacobson, said Douglas Jacobson was a big part of the Rhinelander community‚Ä"serving as Lions Club president, being part of many clubs and being a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service.
The Jacobson family and Rhinelander city leaders worked to dedicate a bench in his honor in Pioneer Park. That bench went up on Saturday, just off the road that leads into the park.
"He was a pioneer in helping to establish the Hodag Farmers Market many years ago. And from those humble beginnings, the market vendors, the patrons that arrive here, the citizens of Rhinelander, and those in the community have a wonderful place to come to get fresh, home grown, locally grown vegetables," Jonathan Jacobson said. "It was a great event. It was really nice to have everybody stop out and pay attention to what my dad's been doing and acknowledge all the effort he put into the farmers market for many years. And not only that, dad was a great citizen here in the Rhinelander community."
RHINELANDER - You'll likely find some slow-moving guests on the road this weekend. Turtles start laying their eggs in late May and continue through mid-June. But, because of where they like to lay those eggs, it's a dangerous time for the reptiles.
Wild Instincts Rehab Center in Rhinelander treats at least 30 injured turtles each summer. Painted and snapping turtles are most common in the Northwoods. They tend to lay their eggs along roadsides, driveways, and in places with soft sand.
ANTIGO - For the first time since 2013, deer hunters in Langlade and Price counties will be able to target does with an antlerless deer tag in hand.
This week, Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board approved the fall hunt plans submitted by County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) all over the state. Langlade and Price counties had had bucks-only harvests in each of the last two deer seasons. But in 2016, some hunters will get antlerless tags as well.
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