MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Oct. 21–28)
WIAA DIVISION 4 VOLLEYBALL: Potosi 3, Highland 0
HIGHLAND — Potosi is moving on.
The Chieftains authored a stunning sweep of top-seeded Six Rivers West rival Highland in Saturday night’s WIAA Division 3 regional final 25–21, 29–27, 25–21.
Second-seeded Potosi, which began the year 1–4 and finished fourth in the SRW, improved to 9–5 on the season after its eighth win in nine matches.
The reward is the team’s first regional title since 2013, a berth in the WIAA D4 sectional semifinals and a 3-hour bus ride to Augusta Thursday night to face top-seeded and undefeated Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran (13–0).
“Winning the regional title made the girls realize the potential they have going into sectionals against Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran,” said Potosi interim head coach Evan Bloyer, who is filling in for head coach Jolene Murray. “The key to winning was confidence, determination, and teamwork. We kept using positive self-talk, and it carried us to victory. I believe traveling to Augusta on Thursday will be a lifetime experience for all of us. Even though Immanuel Lutheran has not lost a set this year, we will go in on Thursday with confidence. The game is not over until it is over.”
A tip kill by senior Sydney Fecht broke a 17–17 tie in the second set, but the host Cardinals (9–5) battle back to take a 25–24 lead.
A thunderous slam through the middle of the Highland defense by junior Kylie Reuter staved off game-point, then a game-wining block by senor middle hitter Lilly Post four points later gave the Chieftains a 28–26 win and a two-games-to-none advantage.
Post finished the match with a team-high 13 kills and 10 blocks. Reuter added 12 kills and four blocks.
“At the end of the second set, my ladies realized that their chances of winning the regional title was great,” said Bloyer. “We played the third set one point at a time, and that is what I told my ladies that the game is not over until it is over.”
An ace by senior setter Brooklyn Friederick gave the Chieftains an early lead in the third game, and a pair of blocks by Post pushed the Potosi lead to 17–8.
But the host Cardinals, with their season on the line, used a 10–3 run to battle back to within two points at 20–18 before Reuter stemmed the tide with a kill off a Highland blocker. Potosi followed with an ace to make it 22–18 and the two teams traded points until the Chieftains closed out the match.
“Neither team had a very big lead in that third set,” said Bloyer. “It was neck and neck the whole way through. On the final point, my ladies knew that this point could make history for them.”
This was Potosi’s first regional championship since 2013. In fact, the Chieftains hadn’t even won a regional playoff game since a 2017 D4 regional quarterfinal victory over Cassville.
Friederick passed out 17 assists and fellow senior setter Shea Siegert added 12 assists. Junior Mykaylia Bauer made a team-high 27 digs, while classmate Jessica Noonan made 16 digs to lead the Potosi defense.
Potosi opened the WIAA D4 playoffs with a first-round bye, then defeated visiting Barneveld 25–16, 24–26, 25–12, 25–18 Thursday night in a D4 regional semifinal.
WIAA Division 4 Regional Final
Potosi 3, Highland 0
(from Saturday, Oct. 24 @ Highland)
2. Potosi........25 29 25
1. Highland..21 27 21
Potosi stat leaders
Kills: Lilly Post 13, Kylie Reuter 12. Blocks: Post 10, Reuter 4. Assists: Brooklyn Friederick 17, Shae Siegert 12. Aces: Sydney Fecht 1, Mykaylia Bauer 1. Digs: Mykaylia Bauer 27, Jessica Noonan 16.