Area prep volleyball teams have regional semifinal, final matches this weekend
The two remaining Tri-County Area prep volleyball teams in WIAA regional tournament play, which resumes Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m., both have tough match-ups to overcome if they wish to stay in the tournament. Both matches are on the road.
Fall Creek, 20-22 overall, a No. 7 seed faces No. 2 seed, No. 10 ranked in the state in Division 3 La Crosse Aquinas, 22-8 overall while No. 3 seed Eleva-Strum, 10-18 overall, is at Dairyland Conference rival No. 2 seeded Lincoln in Alma Center in Division 4.10
FC lost to the Blugolds in the sectional semifinals a year ago 3-2 after taking a 2-0 lead in the match. Aquinas finished sectional runner-up to No. 9 ranked Unity, 25-5 overall, and still active in the St. Croix Falls Sectional Tournament.
Central lost earlier this season at Lincoln but by a close 3-2 score. The Hornets, 16-7 overall, finished third in the DC with an 8-2 record while E-S was 4-6. Lincoln swept Gilmanton 25-14, 25-8, 25-18 in the first round.
The Cardinals beat Independence 3-1 in their first round match Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Central. After stubbing their toe in Game 1, 23-25, Eleva-Strum dominated Games 2 and 3 by scores of 25-15 and 25-10 before winning Game 4 by a 25-23 score.
The winner of this match faces the winner of the Elmwood/Plum City and Alma/Pepin match on Saturday evening. EPC, 21-14 overall, won the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and has sweep wins over both Dairyland teams this season. Sophomore outside hitter Hailey Webb leads the team in kills with 264 this season. Senior middle blocker Ally Gilles has 30 blocks for the Wolves and senior setter Lily Webb has 639 assists this season.
The winner of the FC-Aquinas match takes on either No. 3 Cashton, 19-7 overall or No. 6 seed Onalaska Luther, 10-17 overall, on Saturday. Senior setter Macy Donarski is back for the Blugolds to lead them in assists while leading them in kills is sophomore middle hitter Addison Foor. Cashton knocked off Durand-Arkansaw 3-1 in the first round while Luther edged Elk Mound 3-2.
Fall Creek downed No. 10 seed Bangor in their final home match this season on Tuesday 3-1. After getting off to a slow start in Game 1 down 11-5 and losing 22-25 they swept the remaining games 25-15, 25-23, 25-23. Cricket senior Tori Marten led the team with 15 kills, 12 digs and four aces. FC's Anna Dougherty had 10 kills and 10 digs. Senior setter Jenna Fitch had 26 assists, Lauren Dallas had 16 assists, Gracie Marten recorded 10 kills and Grace Herrem had 17 digs.
Regardless what happens tonight and the rest of the way getting first-round wins in the regional tournament can be important for teams with lots of non-senior players on varsity according to FC head coach Matt Prissel.
"With the injuries and adversity we have faced this season, it was nice to get a victory at home to be celebrated by our players and fans," Prissel said. "For our seniors, getting to win their final match at home was a positive for them and a great memory they will keep for a long time. For our younger players, getting to experience the playoff atmosphere and feel the extra pressure of the big moments was huge as that will give them confidence going into other big moments at later points in their careers. I was especially pleased and proud of the way we responded after a slow start. We did a great job getting in control and winning Game 2 Then in Games 3 and 4 we battled for every point and made a commitment to doing the little things and taking care of our side of the net to help us win the match."
Saturday's championship games are also set for 7 p.m. start times.