Falcons Mason Welter goes for the spike against Wilmot in an earlier meeting this season. Welter notched nine kills Friday night to help Westosha Central advance to the next round (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

Falcons play at No. 2 Racine Horlick Tuesday

By Jason Arndt

Throughout the season, the Wilmot Union High School boys volleyball team continued to chip away at county rival Westosha Central, which has won all of its meetings.

Before this year, Westosha Central had not dropped a set to the Panthers, who managed to snag one away in their first Southern Lakes Conference meeting followed by a recent 3-2 loss.

On Friday, however, the Panthers were unable to continue strides of improvement, as the third-seeded Falcons swept visiting Wilmot, a No. 6 seed, in the WIAA tournament on scores of 25-21, 25-13, 25-19.

Panthers coach David Riedl, who states his team was undersized, said the Falcons capitalized on some miscues.

“We made a couple of those mistakes, right towards the end, and right there, it just shut our confidence down,” said Riedl.

Although the Falcons came away with a sweep, coach Wayne Schultz acknowledged his team has to clean up serving errors of its own entering Tuesday’s sectional semifinal at No. 2 seed Racine Horlick.

“Our serving was a little off tonight, so we got to improve on our serving,” he said.

Tight opening set
Westosha Central opened with a 4-0 lead, courtesy of a senior Cooper Brinkman spike followed by three consecutive Panther serving errors, but Wilmot bounced back to deadlock the first set at 4-4.

Following a back and forth battle, which put the contest into an 11-11 stalemate, the Falcons pulled ahead 12-11 on a Panthers’ error.

From there, the Falcons stayed in control and eventually came away with a 25-21 first set victory, thanks to a spike from Brinkman, a 6-foot-4 hitter.

The Falcons then notched the second set 25-13, capped by a spike from 6-5 Mason Welter, who had a team-leading nine kills.

“Mason is an impact player for us, he is our go to guy offensively, he is one of the best hitters I have ever coached here,” said Schultz.

Riedl said the Falcons’ hitter posed a challenge for his undersized Wilmot team.

Falcons complete sweep
At the start of the third set, the teams waged in another tight contest, but the Falcons eventually pulled away from Wilmot at 12-11.

After the Falcons came out ahead, Wilmot senior Cameron Wischnowski attempted to keep the set within one, when he delivered a spike to diminish the Falcons lead to 13-12.

Despite Wischnowski’s efforts, the Falcons extended its lead, and the Panthers were unable to bounce back.

Welter, who added two blocks, said the difference between his team’s previous meeting and Friday was intensity.

“We just needed to get pumped up and ready for the game, put pressure on them the whole time to get things done,” said Welter.

Along with Welter, adding reinforcement in the front row were Matt Bruzas (seven kills, two aces) and Jason Olson (four kills).

While Westosha Central senior Connor Muff paced the Falcons offense, chipping in 27 assists, adding two blocks and six digs, Jack Polick contributed defensively with 22 digs.

Looking ahead
As the Falcons continue their season, Wilmot faces the task of replacing four seniors, including setter Alex Tenhagen and Cameron Wischnowski, who notched game-high 11 kills on Friday.

“Cameron was a huge part of our season,” Riedl said. “The strides that we made this year are in large part due to the strides he has made for us.”

Tenhagen contributed 19 assists and added two aces.

Kevin Kessel, a junior libero, pitched in seven digs.

The Panthers also need to replace Ethan Dahlen and Brandon Keller.

Meanwhile, for the Falcons, they face No. 2 Racine Horlick, a team the Falcons bounced in the first round of last year’s tournament.

Horlick edged No. 7 Union Grove, 23-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-20.


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