HIGHLAND — Big-time players rise to the occasion in big-time situations.
With her team needing one more victory over competitive Highland team to earn a piece of the Six Rivers West crown, Potosi senior middle hitter Kate Mish responded with her best individual match of the season.
Mish floored a season-high 22 kills (and just one hitting error) and registered six big blocks to lead Potosi to a conference title-clinching 25–17, 25–20, 25–27, 25–15 victory on the Cardinals’ home court.
Mish got plenty of help from fellow seniors Abby Ames, Rylie Bausch, Katie Muench, Dawn Dines and Alex Taylor as the Chieftains refused to let the conference title slip through their hands after struggling briefly two weeks ago with losses to Belmont and Shullsburg.
Ames passed out 38 assists and had two kills. Bausch slammed 11 kills and a match-high eight blocks. Muench added six kills and 11 digs, Dawn made 13 digs, and Taylor chipped in 10 digs and two aces for the victors.
“With the conference title on the line, I think the girls had a little extra adrenaline flowing,” said Potosi head coach Sydney Kittoe. “We played a complete match against Highland. Our defense was excellent in the back row and in the front row, which carried over and just electrified our offense. It was a lot of fun to watch the girls play so well and win the conference title.”
Potosi improved to 16–10–1 overall and 10–2 in the Six Rivers West. River Ridge (10–2) earned a share of the conference title with a 3–1 victory over Cassville on Thursday night.
“I am so happy for my girls, they have worked extremely hard for this,” added Kittoe. “We were on a down slide for a moment but, the girls were able to work through it and it was great to see them come back together again.”
The Chieftains got 17 kills and two blocks from Bausch and stayed in title contention with a 25–20, 25–17, 19–25, 25–13 victory at Benton last Tuesday night.
Mish added 11 kills, Muench had eight, Ames had 29 assists, and Paige Brinkman posted 14 digs and three aces.
Potosi opened the WIAA Division 4 playoffs Tuesday night at home against 15th-seed Kickapoo. With a win the Chieftains will host either 10th-seed Argyle or seventh-seeded Belmont on Thursday night.
Potosi 3, Benton 1
(from Tuesday, Oct. 9 @ Benton)
Potosi 25 25 19 25
Benton 20 17 25 13
Potosi stat leaders
Kills: Rylie Bausch 17, Kate Mish 11, Katie Muench 8. Blocks: Liz Reuter 4, Bausch 2. Assists: Abby Ames 29. Aces: Paige Brinkman 3, Alex Taylor 3.. Digs: Brinkman 14, Dawn Dines 13.
Potosi 3, Highland 1
(from Thursday, Oct. 11 @ Highland)
Potosi 25 25 25 25
Highland 17 20 27 15
Potosi stat leaders
Kills: Kate Mish 22, Rylie Bausch 11, Katie Muench 6. Blocks: Bausch 8, Mish 6, Brinkman 4. Assists: Abby Ames 38. Aces: Paige Brinkman 4, Alex Taylor 2, Kerrigan Stappert 2. Digs: Dawn Dines 13, Stappert 11, Muench 11, Taylor 10.