Everyone knew that it was going to be a tough match-up between #9 seeded North Crawford and #1 seeded Barneveld on the road on the Eagles’ own court last Thursday in pursuit of the WIAA Regional Championship game. After having defeated their rivals the Seneca Indians on Tuesday, the Trojans’ confidence was high. A fired-up North Crawford team stormed into Barneveld ready to play some their most dramatic volleyball of the year in the regional semi-final.
The Trojans pulled ahead in game one 24-22, but could not hold onto the lead. Barneveld’s strong middle hitters pounded the ball to give the Eagles game one 27-25.
In the second game the Trojans were frustrated, unable to get anything going as Barneveld consistently hit well-placed serves. Unable to get possession of the ball, the Trojans lost game two 13-25.
Game three was a struggle. At one point the Trojans’ dreams (and season) looked to be coming to an end as the Eagles were ahead 23-20, but finally North Crawford sided-out. A focused Mackenzie Swiggum served four straight points to win game three 25-23 for the Trojans.
Game four got off to a running start with spike kills from Hollie Martin and Aubrey Stevenson, set up by Bailey Stevenson and Katie Eitsert with an additional block kill from Natasha Swiggum.
North Crawford picked up on the ways of the Eagles’ middle hitters and dug deep against them. The strategy worked, and game four went to the Trojans 25-20.
Game five was a back-and-forth battle that saw the Trojans fall behind and having to catch up. Finally the Trojans pulled ahead thanks to Katie Eitsert serving. North Crawford won the game 15-10 and the match 3-2.
The Trojans were overcome with joy as they had just defeated the top team in their sectional and played the best that they had all year.
Hollie Martin had 18 spike kills while Mackenzie Swiggum had 15. Bailey Stevenson saw 24 assists, Katie Eitsert 23. Mackenzie Swiggum found 21 digs, while Natasha Swiggum had three block kills. Mysti Pratt and Mackenzie Swiggum each had Ace serves, and Aubrey Stevenson had a save.
The victory over Barneveld sent the Trojans home to the hills to take on the River Ridge Timberwolves in Patch Grove Saturday in the Regional Final.