The Wilmot Union High School girls volleyball team captured a WIAA Division 1 regional title with a win at Elkhorn on Oct. 26 (top row, left) Assistant coach Mindy Schuh, Ali Buchta, Miranda Kendall, Skyler Critzer, Karina Leber, Brookelyn Corona, Breanna Weber, Shannan Biba, Elizabeth Schmidt, head coach Josh Price; (bottom) Kiley Wharton, Chelsey Biel, Kaleigh West, Kaelyn Bedessem, Ally Biel and Brooke Sattersen.

Wilmot wins thrilling five-set decision at Elkhorn

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

The Wilmot Union High School girls volleyball team needed grit and heart to finish off Elkhorn in an exciting five-set victory Oct. 26 to claim its first WIAA Division 1 regional championship in at least two decades.

The Panthers defeated Elkhorn, 25-22, 17-25, 13-25, 26-24, 15-11 and continued to show resilience, even when they were down 2-1 heading into the fourth set.

“It was really exciting to be involved in a close match that had so much on the line,” Wilmot coach Josh Price said. “Great for our team to bounce back after winning set one and then losing the next two to pick up the win in set four and finish them off in set five for the win. We really showed some grit and heart to get the job done.”

Karina Leber, a 6-foot-3 senior and Division 1 Colorado State University commit, played a key role in the fourth and fifth sets for Wilmot.

Leber contributed a team-leading 21 kills and 24 digs.

“Karina is always a force, especially offensively,” Price said. “Against Elkhorn, she got some really big kills when we needed them, but she was also rock solid in serve receive and made some big defensive plays when we needed them the most in sets four and five.”

Senior Ali Buchta offered reinforcements, contributing 13 kills and nine digs.

Sophomore setter Elizabeth Schmidt paced the offense with 45 assists while adding 10 digs and contributing a team-leading seven serving aces.

Junior libero Kaelyn Bedessem pitched in 10 digs.

Wilmot’s win was the second in three meetings this season against Elkhorn (30-13).

In regular-season play, the Panthers edged Elkhorn 3-1 on Sept. 17 before dropping a two-set decision nearly a month later in the Southern Lakes Conference tournament hosted by Delavan-Darien High School.

Price said the team learned from both games and discussed strategies before entering the Oct. 26 regional final.

“Before the game, we talked about what Elkhorn likes to do and things we felt we could do, since it was our third time playing them,” he said. “We also stressed competing with confidence and playing and sticking together and having fun in the moment.”

Wilmot (24-16) plays No. 2 Janesville Parker in Thursday’s sectional semifinal at Burlington.

Janesville Parker had beaten seventh-seeded Monona Grove in three sets.

Regional semifinal results
No. 6 Wilmot def. No. 11 Beloit Memorial, 25-23, 25-14, 25-21.

The Panthers advanced to the regional final after an Oct. 24 sweep of No. 11 Beloit Memorial.

Leber picked up a team-leading 16 kills, five aces, three blocks and added six digs against the Purple Knights.

Buchta added nine kills and four aces.

Schmidt set the offensive tone with 28 digs while Bedessem pitched in a team-leading seven digs on defense.

Senior Brookelyn Corona produced three total blocks to tie Leber for the team lead.

No. 5 Fort Atkinson def. No. 12 Westosha Central, 26-24, 25-15, 21-25, 25-10
At Fort Atkinson on Oct. 24, freshman Karis Bridleman’s team-leading 14 kills for the Falcons was not enough as Westosha Central dropped a four-set decision.

Bridleman also tied for team best in digs with 14 along with junior Abby Conrad and three serving aces to match senior McKenna Hall.

Hall picked up five kills and five digs.

Senior Lexi Rothwell-Krebs added four kills and a team-leading three total blocks as a middle hitter.


Comments are closed

Sorry, but you cannot leave a comment for this post.