from today's Waukesha Freeman --
SECTIONAL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Union Grove 0
It wasn’t pretty, but Crusaders advance
Memorial one match from state
By Tony Mooren Freeman Correspondent
MILWAUKEE – Ted Schulte wasn’t overly excited about the performance of his Catholic Memorial High School girls volleyball team Thursday. The coach was excited about the result: a 25-20, 25-14, 25-18 WIAA sectional semifinal victory over Union Grove that propelled the defending Division 2 state champion within a match of another state tournament. The sectional final is Saturday at Whitefish Bay.
Memorial, which has appeared in two straight state tournaments and three in the past four seasons, trailed 7-4 in the second game and 8-4 in the third game before rallying to win. “We picked up the intensity,” said junior setter Sara Connell, who led the team with 15 assists. “Focus is a big part of it, and sometimes we need to find it.
Consider it found as Memorial, the No. 1-ranked Division 2 team in the state, improved to 43-4 overall. Perhaps it was found after the Crusaders inched ahead 12-9 and senior Patti Abshire delivered what Schulte labeled “a fantastic save.” Abshire went to the ground to save a ball and popped it to the net, where senior Kelli Browning was waiting for a kill. “We started a little run and that kept it going,” Schulte said. “Maybe they were thinking about coming back, but we kept it going and all of a sudden we had a 10-point lead.”
Browning and senior Katie Acker shared the team lead with 10 kills apiece, and Memorial never appeared to be in serious trouble. But Schulte said, “We were just a little sloppy. We were letting some balls fall that we should have been getting up and we had some unforced errors which kept the game closer than I would have liked and I’m sure than they would have liked. “But we have a lot of character and play with a great deal of confidence.”
So CMH was able to turn up the heat when needed. “We’re expected to be here, but we still have to prove that we should be here,” Acker said. “We train pretty hard and are pretty battle-tested from our tough schedule. What we always have to remember is to stay focused, keep the momentum on our side and keep down the unforced errors.” Schulte thought his team had more unforced errors than Union Grove and said, “I just don’t think that we played very well but we played well enough to win, which is what we need to do at this point of time. We were taking care of business. The trick is to get through tonight and get up for the next match. I know we’re going to have to be a lot more efficient Saturday night if we want to go back up to Green Bay.”
Memorial’s biggest comeback occurred in the third game when, trailing 8-4, Union Grove served the ball out and junior Kaitlyn Hastings served two more points to get the Crusaders back into the game. Acker got her team its first lead at 12-11 with a spike, but it wasn’t until Union Grove netted another serve that the Crusaders were able to take the lead for good at 16-15.
Browning later served five straight points, including an ace and another kill by Acker, to pretty much end the match. Junior Lauren Landry scored the last point on a kill and junior Amanda Hansen had the second-last point on a kill. “We find ways to create intensity,” Connell said. Abshire led the team with 14 digs, and Hastings had three aces for Memorial.