Prep Volleyball Round-up: Fall Creek has WCC title in its sights

O-F a game behind Crickets in league standings; Augusta and Eleva-Strum get Dairyland wins

For some inexplicable reason Fall Creek High School's Volleyball Team dropped one spot in the state Division 3 rankings despite the fact No. 1 ranked Howards Grove lost twice in a meet last weekend to both Madison Edgewood and No. 2 ranked Lake Country Lutheran while the Crickets keep chugging along and winning.

FC won Western Cloverbelt Conference matches over Bloomer 25-23, 25-10, 15-15 back on Sept. 23 and against Eau Claire Regis (3-0) 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 this past Tuesday Sept. 28. They also swept their way through another weekend meet win, the Cameron Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 25 by beating Prairie Farm 25-11, 25-18; Cameron 25-23, 26-24; Colfax 25-13, 25-23; Rice Lake 25-13, 25-7 and Boyceville 25-17, 25-9.

Against the Blackhawks at home, FC was led by Gianna Vollrath's 17 kills, 14 digs, three blocks and three aces. Teammate Sam Olson had 18 assists and 12 digs and Hannah Herrem 21 digs. Against the Ramblers at Regis, Vollrath finished with 14 kills, 10 digs, three Blocks and three Aces; Sam Olson had 18 assists and six aces, Hannah Herrem had 18 digs and Catrina Cline finished with 10 digs. Total stats for the Cameron meet had Vollrath at 46 kills and 45 digs; Olson 49 assists, 22 kills, 22 digs, 10 aces; Herrem 48 digs, 11 aces; Anika Steinke 41 assists; Tori Marten 22 kills and Cline 31 digs

The Crickets are now 35-1 and the Western Cloverbelt Conference title is now in sight for them as FC will take on a tough and sizeable Stanley-Boyd squad who is just one game behind them in the WCC standings Thursday, Sept. 30 at home beginning at 7:15 p.m.

"To keep our team sharp as we go forward, we are going to keep focusing on whoever we are playing next.," FCHS head coach Matt Prissel said. "We don't worry about who we see in a couple weeks or who we might play in the tournament series, we take it one game at a time and prepare for the opponent in front of us as we know in the Western Cloverbelt there are no easy matches. We know whoever is up next on our schedule is the best team we are playing that night and we have to go out and take care of business in every match. In practice, we focus on the areas from the match before that we need to improve upon and implement any particular game planning for our next opponent. Our girls in the Fall Creek Volleyball program know that our goal is just to try to go out and do our jobs and play to the best of our ability and try to go 1-0 each night."

Another team with considerable interest in the outcome of the S-B and Fall Creek match is Osseo-Fairchild. The Thunder have just one loss in league action too and have already beaten the Orioles so their best chance to get a piece of the WCC title is for Stanley-Boyd to pull off upset and continue winning as they did after the tough loss to Fall Creek back on Sept. 21.

The Thunder had to first shake off the after-effects of the loss to the Crickets and stormed back from an 0-2 deficit to beat Regis 23-25, 24-26, 25-15, 25-10, 15-9 on Sept. 23. They swept through the Eleva-Strum Invitational last Saturday, Sept. 25 with a perfect 5-0 record and all two-set wins and swept a solid Thorp squad 25-20, 25-13 and 25-23 on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The Thunder are 16-2 overall and have a league meet Thursday, Sept. 30 at Cadott. Even if S-B can win at FC, the Thunder still have to get wins next week at home vs. strong WCC squads No. 4 Chippewa Falls McDonell on Tuesday, Oct. 5 and Bloomer, which beat McDonell on Tuesday, on Thursday, Oct. 7

"We started out slow at Regis. It was just a matter of time for the girls to settle in and play volleyball," O-GF head coach Sharon Steinke said. "Though we don't want to start out slow, it does show that the girls can preserve and work their way back. We have a lot of great players and we will continue to work in practice to get better each game."

At the E-S meet, Osseo-Fairchild was led by Brooke McCune with 60 kills followed by Mariah Steinke with 27 kills. Rachel Moe had 13 aces, Mariah Steinke had 12 aces, and Zoey Lafky had 11 aces for a strong serving day for the Thunder.

After a long COVID-19 layoff, Eleva-Strum is swinging in action against. While the Cardinals were swept in Dairyland Conference meets at Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran on Sept. 23 and Cochrane-Fountain City on Sept. 27, both of whom lead the conference with 6-0 records; E-S got its first league win Tuesday, Sept. 28 at home vs. Blair-Taylor. The Cardinals won the first game25-20 and took the key third game 25-23 before wrapping up the win in Game 4 by a 25-17 score. Eleva-Strum is 5-12 overall, winning two matches in their own invite last week over Lake Holcombe 22-25, 25-17, 15-6 and Augusta. They'll look to collect more wins starting Thursday, Sept. 30 at Gilmanton; Saturday; at Alma/Pepin at 10 a.m. and Tuesday at home against Augusta, the evening matches at 7 p.m.

It was a tough late last week for Augusta as they lost a 3-2 Dairyland Conference thriller at home to Independence 18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 29-27 and 12-15 and went 1-4 in the Eleva-Strum Invitational with their only win coming over Lake Holcombe. But the Beavers bounced back with a big 3-1 road win at Whitehall on Tuesday, Sept. 28 to stay above .500 in the league at 3-2, 4-11 overall.

"The ladies worked hard and played well together winning in four sets," AHS Alicia Bethke said. "Big shout out to our fans. Your support kept our girls focused and on fire!"

Augusta has their Homecoming match Thursday, Sept. 30 vs. Melrose-Mindoro followed by Eleva-Strum next Tuesday and back at home again vs. Alma Center Lincoln next Thursday, Oct. 5. The match vs. Eleva-Strum will be crucial for both team's opportunities to have a winning season in conference play.

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