Laura Shoopman launches a spike for the Westosha Central girls volleyball team against visiting Wilmot during a Southern Lakes Conference showdown on Sept. 18 (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

By Jason Arndt

When Westosha Central High School senior Laura Shoopman finds her zone, the outside hitter cannot be stopped, which propelled the Falcons to a three-game sweep of visiting Wilmot Sept. 28.

Shoopman, whose team edged the Panthers, 25-18, 25-12, 25-11, accounted for a match-high 11 kills along with six digs.

According to Panthers coach Josh Price, Shoopman set the tone for the Falcons the rest of the match, which saw the Falcons exhibit efficient ball distribution.

“I think Laura eight or nine kills (in the first set) and then after that, she kind of cruised,” Price said. “The way that they served and the way they controlled the ball on serve-receive, it was going to be tough for us to beat them no matter what.”

Falcons coach Megan Awe, who commended her five seniors for stepping up at home, said her squad was able to find Shoopman.

“They did a great job finding Laura, she was very aggressive from the right side,” said Awe, whose team improved to 19-6 and remained unbeaten in the SLC (4-0) after the win.

“She was really hitting her zone, which we were working on in practice.”

Falcons Kennedy Muff, a senior, paced the offense with 22 assists and also contributed eight digs, three aces and three kills.

Wilmot middle hitter Karina Leber, meanwhile, nearly countered Shoopman with 10 kills, two aces and five digs.

“Karina Leber is always our big gun and she is always gets a lot of swings for us,” Price said. “We ran a 5-1 last night with Alyson Biel and I thought she did a great job.”

Biel, a freshman setter, collected 13 assists and had three digs for the Panthers.

Although she is a freshman, Biel held her own against an experienced Falcons squad, according to Price.

“She has a lot of volleyball experience, she has played some club volleyball and she is a super-talented athlete,” he said. “She is very quick even when we are not passing well.”

The Falcons other three seniors – libero Twila Dovas, outside hitter Sierra Lee and middle hitter Ella Kaebisch – also played a formidable role against Wilmot.

While Dovas had 11 serve receptions and eight digs, Lee accounted for nine serve receptions, 10 digs, two blocks and seven kills.

For Lee, Awe said the outside hitter has worked to bolster her blocking technique in practice.

“She comes into practice really focused, and she has been working on getting her blocking better and it is starting to show,” she said.

Kaebisch added four kills and three total blocks. Junior outside hitter McKenna Hall chipped in six aces and reinforced the Falcons defense with four digs.

Sophomores Brookelyn Corona and Sophia Parisi each had two kills for Wilmot (6-17, 1-3 SLC). Sophomore libero Kaelyn Bedessem accounted for six digs.

Despite the loss and a short-handed squad because of injuries, Price said the team persevered, especially since the Panthers played at Westosha Central.

“Playing in their gym, in their place, the girls played really well,” he said.

During the SLC contest, the Falcon girls volleyball program raised $500 to support childhood cancer research as part of the team’s “Going for Gold” night.

“It was a fun atmosphere tonight and great seeing so many young athletes in the stands supporting the teams and supporting our Going for Gold night,” Awe said.

Strong Sprawl appearance
Later in the week, the Falcons headed to West Bend, where they finished 5-2 at the Sprawl Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

In pool play, Westosha Central defeated Menomonee Falls (27-25, 25-20), West Bend East (25-21, 25-22) before losing to Neenah (27-25, 25-16).

The following morning, during power pool play, the Falcons edged Brookfield East (25-22, 25-16) and Brookfield Central (25-14, 25-17).

After the Falcons lost to Arrowhead (26-24, 25-18), they bounced back to win against Appleton North (26-24, 25-20).

“Overall this was a great weekend for the team,” Awe said. “We battled high level teams and ended up 5-2.”

Westosha Central (24-8) received contributions from Muff (158 assists, 22 kills, 44 digs, three blocks and nine aces), Lee (four aces, 44 kills, four assists, three blocks, 70 digs) and Shoopman (79 kills, two blocks, five aces and 29 digs).

Kaebisch (six aces, 29 kills, four blocks and 14 digs), Dovas (65 digs) and Hall (three aces, 26 kills, three blocks and 42 digs) also pitched in.


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