Falcons senior middle hitter Ella Kaebisch tips in the volleyball against Demons sophomore defender Camryn Lukenbill during the WIAA Division 1 sectional girls volleyball final at Westosha Central on Oct. 27 (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

By Jason Arndt

In the last five years, the Demons have invaded the dreams of the Westosha Central girls volleyball program, which has endlessly sought redemption for a return trip to state.

Looking to shed themselves of the nightmare, host Westosha Central challenged the defending state champion Burlington in Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 sectional final, but was not enough as the Demons dashed the Falcons hopes once again in a three set sweep, 25-21, 25-22, 25-14.

With the sweep, Burlington will make its fifth consecutive state appearance and defending their state title at the Resch Center in Green Bay starting on Thursday.

Burlington co-coach Teri Little attributes the win to pass distribution and ball control.

“With our ball control, we were able to be more diverse tonight,” she said.

Junior setter Kaley Blake played a role in the Demons pass distribution by recording 33 assists.

For the Falcons, whose last sectional title came in 2013, when they defeated Burlington, the drought continues.

Falcons coach Megan Awe, in her second season, said the contest boiled down to Burlington’s continued intensity and limiting mistakes.

“They stayed really aggressive, they kept balls in play and minimized their errors,” she said.

Additionally, there were some issues on the service line, where some serves were short.

“I thought were moments where we were too soft on serving instead of going after it,” she said.

The loss comes in spite of a game-high 14 kills from senior Laura Shoopman, who added a block and three digs.

Westosha Central (35-11), meanwhile, did not make the contest easy for the Demons.

The Demons faced four-point deficits on four occasions in the opening set.

In the second set, there were 14 deadlocks, with the last at 20 apiece.

Teetering start
In the first set, where there was a 1-1 deadlock, Westosha Central rattled off a 4-0 run after two junior McKenna Hall kills along with a spike each from Shoopman and Ella Kaebisch.

Hall registered seven kills and five digs while Kaebisch finished with four kills of her own.

The Demons early deficit compelled Little to call a timeout, but for every Burlington point, the Falcons seemingly had an answer for.

At 13-9, the Demons eventually bounced back with a 5-1 run, which included two points off Westosha Central serves that came up short.

Senior Coley Haggard and junior Emily Alan then contributed spikes back-to-back to pull the contest even at 14 apiece.

From there, Burlington extended its lead to 19-16. The Falcons responded with four consecutive points to steer the game back in their favor at 20-19.

Burlington then produced a 6-2 run to win the set at 25-22.

Senior outside hitter Maddie Berezowitz, who accounted for a team-leading 12 kills along with 10 digs, said team chemistry played a role in her squad’s comeback.

“We struggled with some execution in the first five points, but we have a lot of confidence in our team and our team chemistry is what got us back,” she said.

In the second set, meanwhile, the contest saw 14 deadlocks with the last at 20 apiece.

Shoopman delivered the contest’s final deadlock with a spike.

Shoopman, one of five seniors, acknowledged Burlington would approach Saturday’s match with a relentless approach.

“Burlington has always been strong competition, we haven’t seen them a lot this season, they played a great game, we battled hard and the outcome is what it was,” she said. “We gave it our best on the court and that is all you can do sometimes.”

By the third set, the match unraveled, as the Demons found their rhythm and sealed the sweep.

Unexpected contributions
Haggard, one of the Demons top hitters, finished second on the team with nine kills, three behind Berezowitz.

Haggard added three blocks, which tied for second on the team with Alan, who contributed eight kills.

Alan and Berezowitz each had two aces.

“We had other people step up to keep the heat off of (Haggard),” Little said. “I think that maybe that was something that was unexpected for (Westosha Central).”

While senior Grace Peyron added seven kills, sophomore Camryn Lukenbill offered reinforcements on the front row, where she registered four blocks and four kills.

“We do have a huge block and that does help when we play defense,” Berezowitz said.

Defensively, sophomore Samantha Naber led with 14 digs.

Looking ahead
As the Demons continue their pursuit of another state championship, the Falcons concluded their season and marked the end of five seniors careers.

Kennedy Muff, the school’s all-time assists leader, finished with 28 and had 11 digs.

Sierra Lee contributed 17 digs, seven kills and an ace. Twila Dovas dove in for 11 digs.

“They literally played with heart, they gave everything they had tonight, and you can’t ask for anything more from a great group of girls,” Awe said.

Berezowitz, meanwhile, recognized the Falcons dedication to the game.

“Central is a great team, we have a great relationship with them,” Berezowitz said. “I am really good friends with a lot of girls on that team and their seniors know how to compete.”

In three of the last five years, with 2014 and 2016 as an exception, Burlington has denied Westosha Central a state appearance.

Since Westosha Central’s 2013 sectional title defeat of Burlington, the Demons have won eight of 13 total matches, and have gone 24-14 in sets played.


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment



Local weather