Tigers punch ticket to state tourney

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


THE HOWARDS GROVE Tigers celebrate their victory over Lake Country Lutheran in Saturday’s sectional volleyball finals which earned them a state berth. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley THE HOWARDS GROVE Tigers celebrate their victory over Lake Country Lutheran in Saturday’s sectional volleyball finals which earned them a state berth. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley SHEBOYGAN — Hard work and strong teamwork paid off for the Howards Grove Tigers who earned the school’s first trip to the girls state volleyball tournament in 38 years with a 25-22, 25-15, 25-20 sweep over Lake Country Lutheran (Hartland) in the Division 3 sectional championship match Saturday night at Sheboygan South.

“It’s a great feeling. We’ve worked so hard for this,” said Tiger senior Samantha Yancy.

“From the first day we had practice we knew this was our year to go to state. To go to state is one of my life’s goals.”

“It’s awesome. The crowd was amazing. I’m overwhelmed. It’s like a dream,” said Tiger senior Lyndsay Peterson. “I’m very proud of the team.”


LYNDSAY PETERSON, Howards Grove senior, spikes the ball during Saturday’s sectional volleyball finals versus Lake Country Lutheran. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley LYNDSAY PETERSON, Howards Grove senior, spikes the ball during Saturday’s sectional volleyball finals versus Lake Country Lutheran. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley The Tigers’ only other state appearance was in 1976 when they won the Class C championship. HGHS, ranked No. 3 in the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association D-3 poll, improved to 42-4. The Lightning, rated No. 10, finished 37-6.

“I can’t even describe it. It’s so hard to do,” said Tiger head coach Brett Damrow about going to state. “I’m glad I went to state in high school [in basketball and golf] because I know what it means.

“The entire team played well. It was a team effort.”

The Tigers rallied from a 9-3 defi- cit in game one as Lutheran came out strong, keyed by Brooke Anderson’s powerful hitting. HGHS took advantage of several hitting and serving errors to key its comeback. The gamedeciding point for the Tigers came off a block into the net by Lutheran.

Fueled by a tough defense and good passing and serving, the Tigers dominated game two. Senior outside hitter Ali Schueler ignited Howards’ attack with several kills in the game.

Schueler and Peterson led the Tigers’ strong hitting in game three with a combined eight kills, including five by Schueler. HGHS played a solid block against the Lightning’s tall hitters and covered the court very well on defense in the deciding game.

The Tigers’ serve reception was outstanding with 47-for-49 (96 percent) which led to several accurate passes to the setter. HGHS had a decisive edge in serving accuracy with an outstanding 71-for-74 (96 percent) and four aces. Lutheran was only 86 percent in serving at 50-for- 58.

Samantha Black and Autumn Risch led HGHS in serving with 19- for-19 and 18-for-18, respectively. Black had a team-high two aces. Schueler paced the team in serve reception with 22-for-22.

“It was more our serving and serve receive,” said Damrow about the keys to the win.

“We knew we had to set up a solid block,” said Yancy. “Our defense was amazing.

“I’m so proud of every single person on the team. I give the coaches so much credit. We wouldn’t be here if they didn’t push us,” said Yancy.

Schueler led HGHS in kills with 15, followed by Peterson with eight and Yancy and Risch with six each. Yancy and Addisyn Gerber had a team-best two total blocks apiece.

Brittany Schaller paced the Tigers in digs with 26 and Schueler contributed 18. Risch led in assists with 29.

Anderson keyed the Lightning’s offense with 20 kills and also had a team-high 22 digs. Grace Swanson led in assists with 17.

“We worked hard in every practice. The coach always told us, ‘one point at a time,’ and that’s what we did tonight,” said Schaller.

“This is a dream-come-true. We want to keep it going Friday [in the state semifinals]. We executed our game plan really well, we stayed together, were energetic and everyone was really focused.

“We dug the best we could and I give our blockers credit,” said Schaller.

The Tigers will face No. 1-ranked Waterloo (35-4) in the state semifi- nals Friday at 1 p.m. at the Resch Center in Green Bay.


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