It didn’t take long for the Iola-Scandinavia volleyball team to bring a little excitement to the WIAA state tournament.
After dropping the first two games of their opening match to Shiocton, the Thunderbirds won the next three games over the Chiefs before seeing their season end in second round with a loss to Lourdes Academy in a Division 3 regional semifinal.
Lourdes Academy 3, I-S 0
OSHKOSH – The Knights swept the T-Birds 25-8, 25-16, 25-21 Oct. 23 before going on to defeat Weyauwega-Fremont two days later to win a regional championship.
“The final match of our season was tough, to say the least,” coach Jessica Wennesberg said. “Lourdes has a dynamic team with a lot of talent. We were shell-shocked in the first set, struggling again with serve-receive, and therefore setting the ball up. We started to come around in the second, but again came up short. By the third set, we realized we could play with them, but it was too late.
“I was impressed with what we were able to dig up in the third and the hard hitting of Kaylin Ellioff, McKenna Prahl and especially Megan Mazemke and Emily Kroseberg,” she said. “Megan and Emily found a way around or through their blocks and each had five kills, followed by McKenna with four. Kylie Johnson led with nine assists.”
I-S 3, Shiocton 2
IOLA – The fourth-seeded T-Birds faced being knocked out of the tournament in the first round Oct. 21 after the fifth-seeded Chiefs took a 2-0 lead into the third set with 25-16 and 25-22 wins.
However, I-S came up with a pair of 25-16 wins and closed out the match with a 15-13 win in the decisive fifth game.
“We started out flat against Shiocton,” Wennesberg said. “Our serve-receive was off, as well as our communication. We had a 10-0 lead in the second set thanks to the strong serving of Brianne Huettner, but let them back in match in the same fashion, struggling with serve-receive on our own.”
The momentum started to change in the third game.
“With a change of mindset and strategy, we were able to come on the court with confidence in the third and fourth and managed the game well and with poise, Wennesberg “A spark for us came from McKenna Prahl. She was swinging incredibly hard from the outside and managed to get through some great hits, as well as protect us at the net.”
The lead changed several times in the fifth game as both teams faced being knocked out of the tournament in the first round.
“The final set was a battle until we found ourselves down 13-11,” Wennesberg said. “Lucky for us, Brianne was up serving and, along with a great team effort, served the last four points to pull off the win.”
Huettner served 32 times in the match without an error, while Ellioff had nine kills and four blocks, Johnson had a team-high 14 assists and Jayden Podgorny led the team in digs with eight.
“Overall, I’m extremely pleased with our season and all we were able to accomplish,” Wennesberg said. “The girls made a lot of progress and met all their goals. I’m very proud of them and the people they are.”