Tigers give valiant effort in state tourney loss

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


SAMANTHA YANCY of Howards Grove tries to hit the ball over Waterloo’s Madeline Mosher (middle) and Olivia Pratt in Friday’s state volleyball semifinals. – Photo by Terry Schaller SAMANTHA YANCY of Howards Grove tries to hit the ball over Waterloo’s Madeline Mosher (middle) and Olivia Pratt in Friday’s state volleyball semifinals. – Photo by Terry Schaller GREEN BAY — The Howards Grove Tigers gave a tremendous effort against No. 1-ranked Waterloo but it wasn’t quite enough as the Pirates won a three-game battle, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19, in a Division 3 girls state volleyball tournament semifinal match Friday afternoon at the Resch Center.

Waterloo, making its first state appearance, went on to the earn the championship with a 25-23, 25-20, 28-26 win over Marathon in the finals Saturday to end the season at 37-4.

“The girls held together well on the big stage, played with a lot of energy and played hard,” said Tiger head coach Brett Damrow whose No. 3-ranked squad finished 42-5.

“Waterloo played one of their best matches of the year. They played a little better in key situations. We just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Damrow.


THE HOWARDS GROVE Tigers celebrate scoring a point against Waterloo in Friday’s state volleyball match. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE HOWARDS GROVE Tigers celebrate scoring a point against Waterloo in Friday’s state volleyball match. – Photo by Terry Schaller “It was a 100-percent team effort. I’m very proud of the girls,” said Pirate head coach Scott Schumann.

“Our girls showed a ton of heart in picking up balls. We’ve played relentless defense all year. Our defense played a huge role.”

The Tigers trailed most of the match and led only once but staged several comebacks. In the first game, HGHS was down 19- 15 but rallied to earn a 21-21 tie. Sophomore middle blocker Samantha Yancy sparked the rally with three kills on a spike, block and tip. Senior outside hitter Ali Schueler contributed two kills for the Tigers.

The Pirates answered with a 4-1 run to close out the game and notch the win. Outside hitters Madeline Mosher and Hailey Chittenden had one spike kill each for Waterloo. The winning point came off a spike out of bounds by HGHS. Waterloo’s other point during the stretch was a result of a questionable double-contact call against the Tigers.


AUTUMN RISCH (right) of Howards Grove attempts to tip the ball over Waterloo’s Madeline Mosher in Friday’s state volleyball semifinals. Looking for the Tigers is Ali Schueler (6). – Photo by Terry Schaller AUTUMN RISCH (right) of Howards Grove attempts to tip the ball over Waterloo’s Madeline Mosher in Friday’s state volleyball semifinals. Looking for the Tigers is Ali Schueler (6). – Photo by Terry Schaller The Tigers fought back from 15-6 and 20-13 deficits in game two. HGHS had a 5-0 spurt, fueled by Schueler’s two ace serves, to close within 15-11.

Waterloo responded with a 5-2 stretch to go up 20-13. Again, the Tigers rallied. HGHS scored six points on Pirate errors which keyed a 7-1 run and shaved Waterloo’s lead to 21-20.

Waterloo scored the next two points on a serve and spike out of bounds by HGHS which made it 23-20. The Tigers answered with two straight points on a net error by Waterloo and Schueler’s spike kill for a 23-22 score.


THE STUDENT SECTION cheers on the Howards Grove Tigers at Friday’s state volleyball match versus Waterloo. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE STUDENT SECTION cheers on the Howards Grove Tigers at Friday’s state volleyball match versus Waterloo. – Photo by Terry Schaller Chittenden’s spike kill upped Waterloo’s advantage to 24-22. The Pirates’ ensuing serve went out of play which pulled HGHS to within 24-23. Middle hitter Jenny Kling then gave the Pirates the win with a spike kill.

In game three, the Tigers trailed 18-10 but mounted a comeback with an 8-3 spurt which pulled them within 21-18. Senior outside hitter Lyndsay Peterson’s two spike kills keyed the rally .

Waterloo responded by outscoring HGHS 4-1 the rest of the way to win, 25-19, and take the match. Chittenden had two spike kills which sparked the run.


PLAYERS ON THE Howards Grove volleyball team console each other after losing to Waterloo in the state semifinals Friday. – Photo by Terry Schaller PLAYERS ON THE Howards Grove volleyball team console each other after losing to Waterloo in the state semifinals Friday. – Photo by Terry Schaller “We never folded. We showed character, heart and perseverance. It didn’t matter what position they were in the match,” said Damrow.

Both teams played strong defense with blocking and some amazing digging, and they were strong on the attack. Serving was crucial to the outcome as the Tigers made an uncharacteristic 10 serving errors while Waterloo had only four. HGHS led 4-2 in ace serves.

“Serving was the big thing. Technically, we weren’t perfect with our serving,” said Damrow. “We could’ve served better.”

Damrow thought his players were probably trying too hard on their serves because they knew Waterloo had such a good attack.

“I wanted so bad for the team and community to bring home the gold ball [state championship trophy]. Without a doubt, I’m very proud of the girls and what they accomplished,” Damrow said.

“I’m really proud of the team overall. We always kept fighting,” said Tiger senior setter Autumn Risch [Damrow’s stepdaughter].

“It was a sad ending but the best way to end it was by being on the big stage. Overall, we played well but couldn’t pull through all the way.

“I think Waterloo played very well. We stayed confident and never got down, even when we got down six or seven points.” said Risch.

“I’m very proud of how we played,” said Schueler. “We fought until the end. We missed a couple of serves and that was crucial.

“They’re a very good defensive team, similar to us.”

Yancy and Schueler led HGHS in kills with 12 and 11, respectively. Risch had a team-high 34 assists. Schueler led in ace serves with three.

Sophomore libero (back-row specialist] Brittany Schaller paced the Tigers in digs with an impressive 30 and Schueler had 13. Senior outside hitter Samantha Black had a team-high two block assists. Peterson and Addisyn Gerber had one solo block each.

Madeline Mosher, the Pirates’ standout junior, sparked her team’s attack with 21 kills. Chittenden contributed 13 kills and a team-best two solo blocks. Waterloo led HGHS in kills, 42-35.

Freshman setter Claire Mosher (Madeline’s sister) led Waterloo in assists with 36. Chittenden, Madeline Mosher and Julia Lanphier had a team-high 13 digs each.

“Their [Tigers’] defense was amazing,” said Schumann. “We hit a number of balls hard that their libero [Schaller] picked up.

“Their block on the strong side was open quite a bit and we took advantage of that. We did an awesome job on the outside. Hailey and Jenny played huge roles.

“If we had Madeline and nobody else [contributing], we wouldn’t be winning all these games. We have to have the rest of the pieces around the puzzle and everyone doing their jobs,” said Schumann.


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