LANCASTER — After a long day that featured four previous matches, it all came down to one final set for Ric Walsh’s Potosi Chieftains.
Potosi was deadlocked with Viroqua at a set apiece with a chance to win the championship.
Behind another impressive performance from junior Abby Kaiser, the Chieftains prevailed in the decisive third set to defeat Virouqa 26–24, 23–25, 17–15 in a back-and-forth nail-bitter to finish the day 4–1 and win the six-team round-robin Lancaster Invitational Saturday.
Kaiser finished the day with a team-high 74 kills, 51 digs and five blocks to lead Potosi. Senior Brooke McKillip dominated in the back row with a team-high 101 digs.
Junior middle hitter Grace Morgan added 18 kills and seven blocks. Fellow junior Sophie Langkamp posted
17 kills and a team-best nine blocks.
“Blocking was a key factor with our rotation lineup on Saturday,” said Walsh.
Junior Kalynn Vosberg added 13 kills and a team-high 13 aces. Junior setter Hannah Udelhoven passed out 89 assists. Kate Nusbaum chipped in 39 assists, 26 digs and nine aces.
Potosi opened the day with a 25–17, 25–22 victory over the Lancaster varsity reserve, then dropped a close two-set match to Black Hawk 23–25, 25–27.
From there, Walsh’s Chieftains were playing catchup the rest of the day with no margin for error. But Black Hawk dropped a pair of matches — to Viroqua and Kickapoo — opening the door for Potosi’s championship run.
The Chieftains fought off Kickapoo in round three 25–18, 21–25, 15–8 then swept the host Arrows 25–13, 25–23 to earn a shot at the title with a fifth round de facto championship match against Viroqua.
“Overall it was a exciting tournament for the girls,” said Walsh. “A lot of good competition and towards the end we were able to find our groove. We had to battle hard, but we ended the tournament on top.”
The tournament championship was a bit of redemption for the Chieftains (5–5–1, 1–2 Six Rivers West) after a rough week in conference play.
Belmont swept visiting Potosi last Tuesday 25–23, 25–20, 30–28.
Senior middle hitter Caitlyn Gilbertson (eight) and junior Kassandra Palzkill (seven) combined for 15 kills to lead the Braves (5–6–1, 2–1 SRW) to victory.
Kaiser pounded a match-high 18 kills in the loss. McKillip made 22 digs and Udelhoven passed out 25 assists.
Two nights later, the Chieftains were on the losing end of a 25–21, 25–15, 25–20 decision against visiting Benton.
The Six Rivers West-leading Zephyrs (11–1–1, 4–0 SRW) rallied from a 16–15 deficit in game one, then cruised to an easy win in game two.
“We were never really in the second game,” said Walsh. “The girls’ focus was lost after having the lead and then losing it in first game.”
Benton again rallied in the third set coming back from deficits of 8–3 and 15–13, using a seven-point to seize control with a 20–15 lead.
“Benton is very solid and has many weapons, but our girls responded very well in most cases,” said Walsh. “I felt we have missed plays at key points later in games and when we fix that, we will add a competitive twist we have not shown yet.”
Potosi returned to action Tuesday at Highland and will now host River Ridge (6–1–1, 3–0 SRW) Thursday night.
Belmont 3, Potosi 0
(from Tuesday, Sept. 6 @ Belmont)
Potosi 23 20 28
Belmont 25 25 30
Potosi stat leaders
Kills: Abby Kaiser 18, Taylar Pluemer 2, Kalynn Vosberg 2. Blocks: Grace Morgan 3, Sophie Langkamp 2. Assists: Hannah Udelhoven 25, Kate Nusbaum 16. Aces: Udelhoven 11, Kate Nusbaum 10. Digs: Brooke McKillip 22, Kaiser 10, Udelhoven 8
Benton 3, Potosi 0
(from Thursday, Sept. 8 @ Benton)
Benton 21 15 20
Potosi 25 25 25
Potosi stat leaders
Kills: Abby Kaiser 23. Blocks: Sophie Langkamp 3, Grace Morgan 2. Assists: Hannah Udelhoven 20. Aces: n/a. Digs: Brooke McKillip 20, Ally Siegert 14.
(from Saturday, Sept. 10 @ Lancaster)
Team records: Potosi 4–1, Viroqua 3–2, Black Hawk 3–2, Lancaster 2–2, Kickapoo 2–3, Lancaster reserve 0–4.
Potosi match scores
Potosi def. Lancaster reserve 25–17, 25–22
Black Hawk def. Potosi 25–23, 27–25
Potosi def. Kickapoo 25–18, 21–25, 15–8
Potosi def. Lancaster 25–13, 25–23
Potosi def. Viroqua 26–24, 23–25, 17–15
Potosi stat leaders
Kills: Abby Kaiser 74, Grace Morgan 18, Sophie Langkamp 16, Kalynn Vosberg 13. Blocks: Langkamp 9, Morgan 7, Kaiser 5. Assists: Hannah Udelhoven 89, Kate Nusbaum 39, Langkamp 18. Aces: Vosberg 13, Nusbaum 9, Udelhoven 7. Digs: Brooke McKillip 101, Kaiser 51, Nusbaum 26, Ally Siegert 25, Vosberg 21.