Tigers’ bid for state berth falls short

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


BRITTANY SCHALLER passes the ball to the front row as Howards Grove teammate Sam Yancy looks on during Saturday night’s sectional volleyball finals versus Lake Country Lutheran. – Photo by Terry Schaller BRITTANY SCHALLER passes the ball to the front row as Howards Grove teammate Sam Yancy looks on during Saturday night’s sectional volleyball finals versus Lake Country Lutheran. – Photo by Terry Schaller SHEBOYGAN — Lake Country Lutheran (Hartland) outlasted the Howards Grove Tigers to win a terrific, hard-fought sectional girls volleyball championship match Saturday night at Sheboygan North.

The Lightning came back from being down two games to one to win in five, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-12, and earn a berth in the Division 3 state tournament. Lutheran, 36-5, avenged a loss to the Tigers in last year’s sectional finals.

HGHS, ranked No. 4 in the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association’s D-3 poll, ended an outstanding season at 35-7-1. The Lightning is ranked No. 7.

“These were two talented teams fighting really hard and that’s what volleyball is supposed to be like,” said Tiger head coach Brett Damrow.


SAM YANCY, Howards Grove junior, spikes the ball over a Lake Country Lutheran player in Saturday night’s sectional volleyball finals. Yancy’s teammates, Katy Berg (9) and Taylor Bubolz, watch. – Photo by Terry Schaller SAM YANCY, Howards Grove junior, spikes the ball over a Lake Country Lutheran player in Saturday night’s sectional volleyball finals. Yancy’s teammates, Katy Berg (9) and Taylor Bubolz, watch. – Photo by Terry Schaller “The key was that they made a couple of plays at the end and we didn’t. We had some communication errors at the end.

“I’m very proud of my team. It’s [the loss is] going to sting. You have to give them credit, they’re a good team and big,” said Damrow.

“We needed to execute in a few situations but we played really, really hard.”

In the deciding fifth game, HGHS trailed 3-0 but rallied to go up 10-8, led by junior middle blocker Sam Yancy who had three spike kills.

The Lightning answered with a 7-2 spurt which won the game, 15- 12, and sent them to state. Outside hitter Brooke Andersen, a 6-foot sophomore, sparked Lutheran’s fi- nal charge with four kills, including three on spikes. A miscommunication on defense by HGHS gave Lutheran a point which started its run.

Several errors by the Tigers, plus strong hitting by Lutheran, was crucial in deciding game one.

HGHS played very well on offense and defense in game two as it bounced back with a victory. The Tigers built a 20-10 lead and then had to stave off a furious comeback by the Lightning. Olivia Stauss scored two spike kills for two of Howards’ final three points as her team held on for the win.

The Tigers took advantage of several errors by Lutheran and got strong spiking from Stauss and Yancy to win game three. Yancy and Stauss had four spike kills each. HGHS showed outstanding teamwork and defense in the set.

HGHS battled back from a 23-14 deficit in game four to cut the Lightning’s lead to 23-20. Yancy’s three spike kills keyed the rally.

Lutheran then scored the final two points on errors by HGHS to win the set.

“We gave it our all. It didn’t come up in our favor but that happens in life sometimes,” said Yancy.

“These girls gave me their hearts out there and I’m so proud of them. It [losing] hurts a lot. I’m proud that we got this far.”

Yancy led HGHS in kills for the match with 25 and Stauss had 14. Taylor Bubolz had a team-high 42 assists.

Brittany Schaller paced the Tigers in digs with 40, followed by Stauss with 24 and Bubolz, 14. Yancy led in blocks with five.

Andersen keyed Lutheran’s attack with 25 kills. Maggie Howe led in digs with 31. Molly Howe had a team-best 22 assists.

“I have really great seniors and they didn’t want to go home and I think that was the difference,” said Lightning head coach Janet Bahr.

“Brooke definitely carried us. I give Howards Grove a lot of credit. That’s the best anyone has picked up her hits. They playe awesome defense.

“I knew we had to have everybody swinging and we had to have kills from other people [besides Andersen]. We had a lot of people stepping up,” said Bahr.

“It was great volleyball. It’s sad that someone had to lose but I’m glad it was them.”


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