Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Crusaders clinch share of C8 title

from today's Waukesha Freeman -

Catholic Memorial celebrates a kill against Mukwonago 
during a Classic 8 Conference match Tuesday.

Pat Neumuth/Freeman Staff

Mukwonago 1 

Crusaders clinch share of title
CMH rebounds from slow start

By Pat Neumuth, Freeman Staff 

WAUKESHA — It’s not how you start, but how you finish.

The Catholic Memorial High School girls volleyball team lost the first game, but rallied off three straight lopsided victories to beat Mukwonago 20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 2512 in a Classic 8 Conference match Tuesday.

The Crusaders (28-8 overall, 6-0 Classic 8) clinched at least a share of the conference title with a matchup against Waukesha West set for next week.

“Last year we went 3-0 in all of our conference
 games,” CMH senior Lexie Calloway said. “Losing to Mukwonago in the first game was a disappointment, but we tend to start slow a little bit. We do that at tournaments and stuff, too. We come back eventually. They were energetic and and an awesome team.”

Schulte gave a lot of credit Mukwonago (24-4, 5-1) for coming out energized. Coming into the matchup, Memorial and Mukwonago were the only undefeated teams
 left in the conference. 

“They took it to us, but we were able to identify what we could exploit from them, and I thought we kind of wore them down,” Schulte said. “As we started to have success, our energy level picked up and we were pretty excited at the end there.”

It was back and forth from the start until Mukwonago went on a 5-0 run to take an 18-13 lead. The Indians lead got as high as seven, and setter Brittany Michalski finished the game with a nifty flick over the net to an empty spot in the middle of the floor.

“We passed a lot better in that first game,” Mukwonago coach Mary Pocius said. “Then we just couldn’t pass or serve. Their serves were moving, and our passes weren’t good at all.”

CMH took over at the net to finish off the Indians in the final three games. Schulte said Michalski is a good setter, but she lacks height — and CMH took advantage of that. She finished the match with 34 assists.

“They have a short setter, and we are a good left-side
 hitting team,” Schulte said. “We can hit over the top of that setter all day long. She’s a wonderful setter, but she’s short, so matching up against us is a tough matchup for them.”

Memorial’s hitting came in spurts from multiple hitters. Calloway had eight kills in the first game. Sophomore Alexis Alden had a teamhigh six kills in the second. Alden and sophomore Maddy Rondeau each had four in the third. Alden led the team with five kills in the fourth game, and sophomore Ivey Whalen added four. With all the work for the back row defense, Mukwonago libero Andrea Bauer had a match-high 22 digs.

Schulte said the split distribution has to do with how rotations work, but getting it to the hot hitter can be another factor. Alden led the team with 20 kills, while Calloway added 10. Rondeau was precise with her hitting, but she also splits some setting duties with senior Haley Levenhagen. Levenhagen led the team with 30 assists, but Rondeau added 16.

“She is just a superb athlete than can do so many different things,” Schulte said of Rondeau. “Long-term, we are going to turn her into a setter. But on this team this
 year, she’s such a dynamic player that we have her set out of the back row and hit in the front row. We are taking advantage of her athleticism.”

In the final game, it was sophomore serving specialist Kathryn Christian who widened the gap. Christian subbed in only for a turn to serve and played in the back row before being subbed out. She got the ball with Memorial leading 10-5, and she rattled off nine straight points. She had three aces in the run.

Senior Bethanie Krause added a match-high three blocks in the final game to finish off the Indians.

“I think we’ve grown as a team a lot this year,” Calloway said. “Last weekend we didn’t do so well, but we came back this week and showed what we really can do as a team.

“We aren’t the loudest team, but when we get excited we really get excited. Our coaches have been working on that a lot with us. We need to be talking a little more on the court, but we actually did a lot better today. When we realized that we had to amp up our energy it got us to play to that level.”


Catholic Memorial sophomore Maddy Rondeau goes for a kill as
Mukwonago’s Kelly-Anne Murphy, left, and Erin Dietzler go up for a block attempt Tuesday.
Pat Neumuth/Freeman Staff

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