The Westosha Central High School girls volleyball team showcases its Southern Lakes Conference hardware after defeating Burlington during last weekend’s conference tournament.

Editor’s note: After the Report went to press, the second-seeded Falcons opened the WIAA Division 1 regional with a sweep of No. 15 Wilmot.
With the win, Westosha Central will host No. 7 Fort Atkinson on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.

By Jason Arndt

After winning the first two rounds at the Oct. 13 Southern Lakes Conference tournament, the Westosha Central High School girls volleyball team faced familiar opponent Burlington in the title match, just four days after the Demons handed the Falcons their lone conference loss of the season.

The Falcons, who dropped the first set to the Demons 25-19, overcame a large deficit in the second set to win 26-24, which set up a pivotal third set.

Carrying the momentum into the third set, the Falcons jumped to a 3-0 lead, and later claimed the match with a 15-13 victory to claim a share of the SLC championship.

Junior McKenna Hall, who delivered the decisive second set spike, acknowledged the contest with Burlington would be a battle.

“Today, I knew we all just had to stick together as a team,” said Hall. “We lost to Burlington in the past, we had to keep a good mindset.”

The mindset, according to Falcons coach Megan Awe, played a critical role in the team’s ability to bounce back from a slow start in the second set.

Down 10-1 in the second set, Awe called a timeout, and the coaching staff took them aside and told them to stay in the present.

“We just told them to settle down and play each ball, when you look at the game of volleyball, you can easily get caught up and say ‘Oh my Gosh, every ball,’ but we just had to bring them back and settle down,” Awe said.

From there, Westosha Central chipped away at the Demons lead, and eventuality deadlocked the contest at 24-24 following a senior Ella Kaebisch spike.

Hall, who had 26 digs, 12 kills and four aces through three matches, said Kaebisch stepped up when it mattered most.

“Ella is a great player and she was ready to go for every ball, she was there for blocking, and did a great job,” Hall said.

Kaebisch finished with 10 kills, three blocks and three aces in the tournament.

After the Demons committed a hitting error, Westosha Central held a 25-24 edge, and later took the set 26-24 following Hall’s kill.

Westosha Central (32-10 overall) received a team-leading 38 kills along with four blocks from senior Laura Shoopman.

Additionally, they had contributions from seniors Kennedy Muff (three aces, nine kills, 23 digs, 68 assists, two blocks), Sierra Lee (three aces, 16 kills, 25 digs, nine assists) and Twila Dovas (29 digs).

For Burlington (33-5 overall), in its three tournament games, the Demons had 30 kills from Coley Haggard and 12 from Grace Peyron, who added seven blocks.

Maddie Berezowitz and Sam Naber each had 18 digs.

“I think they are just a very good collective team, every single person puts their effort into it,” Hall said about Burlington. “There is no key player.”

Westosha Central opened the tournament with wins against Elkhorn (25-11, 25-20) and Union Grove (25-11, 25-14).

In the WIAA Division 1 tournament, the second-seeded Falcons will host No. 15 Wilmot, which had a challenging tournament on Oct. 13.

The Panthers lost to Union Grove (25-11, 25-15) and Elkhorn (25-20, 25-21) to set up a seventh place match with Lake Geneva Badger.

Lake Geneva, however, came away with a 25-21, 25-20 victory to avoid last place at the tournament.


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