MENOMONIE – The Grantsburg volleyball team earned a top-5 finish to start the 2019 season.

In the two-day 40-team Menomonie Sprawl at University of Wisconsin-Stout, the Pirates went undefeated on Friday and won two of their three matches on Saturday to place fifth overall.

Grantsburg didn’t surrender a set in the opening day, starting with a 25-23, 25-20 win over Ellsworth. Ellie Duncan had 13 assists; Olivia Ohnstad had 10 digs and six kills while Hanne Johnson had nine kills and two blocks.

Johnson led the Pirates’ following win over Rice Lake. She had 10 assists, eight digs and eight kills in the 25-20, 25-17 win over the Warriors. Grantsburg had an easier time gaining its third win on Friday, defeating Colby 25-9, 25-8. Ellie Duncan had 12 assists and Johnson added 10; Raisa Jensen had seven digs and Ohnstad had six kills.

The match against Wausau West gave the Pirates a challenge though it didn’t derail their undefeated day. Grantsburg won 25-22, 25-20 to close the first day of the season with a 4-0 record. Ohnstad had 13 digs, 10 kills and four blocks; Jensen had 13 digs; Johnson had nine assists, nine digs and five kills.

A potential undefeated path to a tournament win was derailed by River Falls on Saturday morning. The Wildcats handed the Pirates their first loss of the season, 25-17 and 25-18. Duncan had seven assists; Ohnstad had seven digs and five kills; Johnson had six kills and five assists.

“Our only loss was to (Division 1) River Falls – the eventual undefeated Sprawl champions whose roster boasts several D-1 and D-2 college commits,” Grantsburg coach Deb Allaman-Johnson said.

However, the Pirates recovered to win their final two matches of the tournament and secure the top-5 finish. They earned a 25-12, 25-20 win over Columbus Catholic; Duncan had 12 assists and Ohnstad had 12 digs while Jensen added 10.

Grantsburg’s tournament concluded with a 25-15, 25-12 win over McDonell Central. Johnson had nine kills; Ohnstad had six digs and Duncan had 17 assists.

The Pirates exited the opening weekend with a 6-1 record despite a portion of the roster getting their first varsity experience.

“Half of our team has little to no high-level varsity experience, so they really rose to the occasion,” Allaman-Johnson said. “We also have a couple of players trying new positions for the first time, so this was a good test against several high-caliber teams.”