GAME OF THE WEEK (Nov. 5–11)
WIAA STATE VOLLEYBALL: Division 4 semifinals
Southwestern (26–1) vs. Clayton (23–8), at Resch Center, Green Bay, Friday, 10 a.m., WPVL (1590 AM)
After losing to Wausau Newman Catholic in last year's WIAA Division 4 state championship match, the Southwestern Wildcats will be making another run at the D4 title this weekend.
Coach Jane Wills’ Wildcats swept Six Rivers West champion River Ridge last Thursday, 25–13, 25–18, 25–9, then vanquished Scenic Bluffs champion Royall Saturday night, 26–24, 23–25, 25–22, 25–16 to win the D4 Onalaska Luther sectional title and earn a return trip to the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Second-ranked Southwestern will face Clayton (23–8) Friday morning at 10 a.m., while the other state semifinal pits top-ranked Newman Catholic (38–1) against Living Word Lutheran (19–12). The D4 state championship match will be played at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Two-time defending champion Newman Catholic is making its eighth overall state appearance and its seventh in the last eight seasons, while Southwestern is making its third state appearance in the last five years under Wills. A year ago Newman Catholic defeated the Wildcats 25–16, 25–12, 20–25, 25–19 in the D4 title match.
Clayton is making its third straight appearance at state and its seventh overall. The Bears have a multifaceted offense with four hitters that have more than 100 kills. Freshman Selena Levendoski (192 kills, .241 hitting percentage) and Alison Leslie (157 kills, .285 hitting percentage). Another freshman, Marissa Gilbertson, leads the team with 339 assists in the Bears’ 6–2 lineup.
Senior Michelle Budden leads the Wildcats with a whopping 534 kills and 179 blocks. She is Southwestern’s clear-cut number one hitting option. Fellow senior Miranda Kemp is second on the team with 156 kills and 129 blocks. Senior Madison Kuhl has 733 assists, 152 digs and 66 aces in 28 matches.
Southwestern went to state in Division 3 in 2011, losing to eventual champion Oostburg.
PREP FOOTBALL: Level 3 playoffs
Friday night forecast: 42 degrees, clear, wind NW 4 mph
The top-ranked Redbirds will host the Cinderella Blue Jays Friday at Martens Field at 7 p.m. Undefeated Darlington scored on its first eight offensive possessions to run away with a 55–28 Level 2 victory over SWAL opponent Mineral Point last Friday night. Junior halfback Hunter Johnson fueled the Redbirds’ relentless rushing attack by rushing for 199 yards and four touchdowns. Senior fullback Conrad Blosch churned out 199 yards and a pair of TDs, while junior halfback Trevor Johnson and junior quarterback Jared Meister each ran for more than 50 yards and a score.
The seventh-seeded Blue Jays have been giant-killers of late, winning three straight games to advance to Level 3 for the second year in a row and the third time since 2011, when they knocked off the top-seeded Redbirds, 44–43, in a double overtime game at Darlington.
Cambridge defeated Marshall 35–7 on the final night of the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs, then upset second-seeded Cuba City (8–2), 14–7 in the first round of the playoffs and third-seeded Lake Country Lutheran, 16–13, in overtime a week ago.
“From here on out, it will come down to the performance of our defense and special teams,” said Darlington head coach Scott Zywicki. “We'll see if we have the kids on that end to hold whoever we play at bay and let our offense do the work.”
Friday’s winner will advance to face the winner of Saturday’s Level 3 contest between second-ranked Pecatonica/Argyle (11–0) and Melrose–Mindoro (9–2).
(2) Ithaca (11–0, ranked 4th in D7) at (1) Bangor (10–0, ranked 3rd in D7), Friday, 7 p.m., WRCO (100.9 FM)
The Cardinals, champions of the Scenic Bluffs Conference, will host the Bulldogs, champions of the Ridge and Valley Conference, in a Level 3 matchup between undefeated top-five teams.
Hunter Dischler ran for 117 yards and four touchdowns to lead Ithaca to a 42–12 victory over sixth-seeded Highland a week ago. The Bulldogs are averaging 41.9 points per game, while allowing 10.5 points per game.
Senior Andrew Piske rushed for 146 yards and a pair of TDs to lead Bangor to a 28–14 victory over SBC rival Hillsboro. The Cardinals are averaging 45.5 points per game and allow just 6.5 points per contest. Their defense has recorded six shutouts in 11 games this year.
(3) Melrose–Mindoro (9–2) at (1) Pecatonica/Argyle (11–0, ranked 2nd in D6), at Argyle, Saturday, 2 p.m., WPVL (1590 AM)
Saturday forecast: 50 degrees, sunny, wind NW 13 mph
The second-ranked Vikings will host Melrose–Mindoro in a Level 3 game Saturday afternoon at Argyle Community Park.
Senior halfback Riley Ostby scored three first-half touchdowns, two on the ground and one on a 4-yard pass from Cam Treuthardt, as Pec/Argyle held on for a 20–9 victory over fourth-ranked Iowa–Grant. Senior quarterback Logan Green was injured in the game and missed most of the second half of Friday's victory.
The Mustangs, co-champions of the Dairyland Conference, defeated Brookwood 32–14 last Friday night. Junior quarterback Sam Boone completed 13 of 20 passes for 213 yards and three TDs. He also rushed for 56 yards on six carries.
WIAA SWIMMING: Division 2 Baraboo Sectional, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Platteville/Lancaster senior Melissa Wood will look to qualify for a second straight WIAA state championships. Wood finished 15th in both the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.99) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:20.27). Wood missed half the year with an injury, but appears to be close to 100 percent. Last Saturday, she finished fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:06.26), and was on a pair of fifth-place relays at the Southern Lakes Conference Championship Meet in Delavan. Wood and the Hillmen finished sixth as a team.