Westosha Central students greet their team after the Oct. 31 sectional semifinal loss at Racine Horlick (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

By Jason Arndt

In a five-set thriller at Racine Horlick, the WIAA boys volleyball sectional semifinal contest came down to two points, with the Rebels outlasting Westosha Central High School Oct. 31.

The second-seeded Rebels, who saw their season end at Westosha Central a year ago, edged the No. 3 seed Falcons, 25-20, 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 15-13.

Horlick coach Dana Marcinkus, in her first year at the helm, knew the Falcons were a challenge, but had a plan entering the contest.

“They are going to come out and they are going to be swinging right away from the get go,” she said. “We knew they would set up their middles quit a bit. They have really strong players in the middle.”

According to Westosha Central coach Wayne Schultz, whose team rallied from a 1-0 deficit, serving issues in the fourth set was the turning point.

“What hurt us tonight was in set four, we missed eight serves, and we just gave them some momentum,” Schultz said. “In sets two and three, we took them out on our serving.”

In the fifth set, where the Rebels maintained control, Westosha Central fell behind 9-5 before Falcons’ Mason Welter and Matt Bruzas produced back-to-back spikes to pull the contest within two at 9-7.

After a Rebels serving error, which made it a one-point set, the Falcons evened the score with a block by Connor Muff to deadlock the decisive set at nine apiece.

The Rebels, however, responded with a 4-1 run, sparked a Gavan Pullen spike to extend their lead to 14-11.

On the brink of elimination, Falcons Joey Michelau contributed his 12th kill of the contest before the Rebels answered with two straight points to seal the Horlick win.

Michelau, who led the team in spikes, also contributed in the second and third sets for the Falcons.

With the Falcons ahead 24-21 in the second set, Michelau delivered the kill to pull the contest even at one set apiece, and continued in the third set with a spike to give Westosha Central a 1-0 lead.

Schultz believes Michelau, a junior, started to find his potential late in the season.

“Joey has a lot of talent and he is just starting to break out, he is only a junior this year, and he should do great things in the program next year,” Schultz said. “When he is flying to the ball, he is extremely good.”

Meanwhile, finishing second in kills for the Falcons was senior setter Connor Muff, who added 28 assists and a team-leading six blocks, and senior Matt Bruzas with nine each.

The senior contributions were not limited to Muff and Bruzas, with Welter adding five blocks and libero Jack Polick pitching in four assists.

Schultz credited the senior-laden team for keeping the Falcons in every contest this year.

“We were very senior heavy this year, they competed all year long, and as you watched Central volleyball this year, we were never down by too much because we always played tough volleyball,” said Schultz, whose team finished the season with a 24-14 record.

Producing game highs for the Rebels, who improved to 31-11, were Kyle Semrad with 13 kills along with 30 assists from Eric Barrientez.


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