from today's Waukesha Freeman -
Catholic Memorial hoists the WIAA Division 2
state title trophy after beating Tomahawk on
Saturday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Pat Neumuth/Freeman Staff
WIAA STATE GIRLS VOLLEYBALLTOURNAMENT
Crusaders poised for long run
Young team wins CMH’s first title since 2011
GREEN BAY — Before Friday, none on the Catholic Memorial High School girls volleyball players had played in a state tournament.
On Saturday, the 13 Crusaders hoisted the WIAA Division 2 state championship trophy. Memorial swept Tomahawk 25-11, 25-20, 25-20 in the championship match at the Resch Center.
And youth is on the Crusaders’ side. With only three seniors and a core group of six sophomores, this could be the beginning of a successful run. CMH was last at the state tournament in 2011, when the Crusaders finished off a third straight championship.
“There are a lot of sophomores, but we learned from our seniors and they are a great example for all of us,” sophomore Maddy Rondeau said. “It’s been through our minds a lot. We talk about it a lot that we need to push it every year, year by year.”
The chemistry is there for the sophomores. Rondeau, Ivey Whalen, Lexi Alden and Kathryn Christian came together their freshman year, and they joined the Milwaukee Sting club team to get more time on the court together.
The impact from the sophomores was apparent in the title match. Alden had a match-high 16 kills, which gave her 32 for the tournament, and she added three blocks. Whalen had 10 kills on just 14 attempts for a .643 hitting percentage. She also had three blocks. Rondeau filled the stat sheet with four kills, 13 assists, five digs and two blocks.
Alden did most of her damage on the left side, but Memorial coach Ted Schulte moved her all over the court.
“I just think that leftside has a lot more court,” Alden said. “There’s so many different opportunities, and I don‘t need a perfect pass to get that kill.”
CMH went to Alden early and often. The Crusaders opened the match with a 70 run with Alden getting three kills during the run. The first set was never close, and the 14-point margin of victory was Memorial’s biggest lead of the set.
“I don’t think it buried them, but I think it intimidated them,” Alden said about the run. “We’ve had matches where we’ve been down by 10 like in the sectional, and we’ve come back and won. It helped them lose confidence and helped us gain more confidence.”
Memorial had its only deficit in the second set. Tomahawk built a fourpoint lead on three separate occasions in the second set. But a 10-1 run that started with Memorial down 16-12 gave the Crusaders the lead for good.
Seniors Lexie Calloway, Hayley Levenhagen and Bethanie Krause ended their careers with a title. Calloway had seven kills and nine digs, and Krause had four kills. Levenhagen led the team with 23 assists. She had a crafty kill for Memorial’s 24th point in the second set, where Schulte joked that it was her first kill of the year. Levenhagen had two kills coming into the championship match and doubled that total Saturday.
“I give a lot of credit to the younger class,” Calloway said. “They are so good for how young they are. We couldn’t do it with just three people.”
Added Schulte, “Lexie Calloway doesn’t want to be that person out in the forefront. Her confidence, drive and performance was special, and you hope they learn from that character. Bethanie was just a quiet kid that took on that role, and what she taught was to take on a role and excel at it.”
As for Levenhagen, Schulte said she played with a lot of intelligence and heart. She also played the teacher role for Rondeau, who split time between hitter and setter positions. She will become the full-time setter next year.
“I was a new setter last year, so Hayley taught me pretty much everything I know about setting,” Rondeau said. Calloway said the talented crop of sophomores has the ability to finish with three titles. Schulte said the sophomores all get along, which has a lot to do with their success and the team success.
“They fit because they all don’t want to play the same position,” Schulte said. “Maddy wants to be setter. Lexi wants to hit left side. Ivey wants to be a middle blocker. Kat (Christian) wants to be a defensive specialist. Zingy (sophomore Kaitlyn Zingsheim) wants to be in the middle.
“There’s one thing of having a lot of kids, but if they want to play the same position there’s a lot of conflict. When they want to play different positions, there’s less conflict in that regard.”
Schulte said the team will be working hard and the talent is there, but he didn’t want to think about winning three straight titles quite yet.
“Since (2011), the depth in the state is getting better and better,” he said. “Yes, it’s something you can talk about. We have a lot of work to do before we can get to that. We have to get two before we can get three.”
Catholic Memorial sophomore Lexi Alden tips the ball over the net against Tomahawk on Saturday. Pat Neumuth/Freeman Staff