PATCH GROVE - Was there any doubt last Saturday’s WIAA Division 4 regional final volleyball match between River Ridge and Potosi would be a thriller?
It certainly shouldn’t have been.
Just like the previous two times during the regular season, Saturday’s match was decided in five sets, but after splitting those two meetings and sharing the Six Rivers West conference title, River Ridge won the rubber match, 3-2.
The win gave River Ridge (21-1) the program’s first regional volleyball title since 2007, and set them up with a sectional semifinal meeting with Wonewoc-Center Thursday night at Boscobel High School.
Potosi suffered a heart-breaking season-ending loss after winning the second and third sets of Saturday’s match, but fell behind early in the third and couldn’t come back.
The first set saw River Ridge jump out to a 13-4 lead, and then maintain momentum for a 25-15 victory.
It was Potosi coming out fast in the second set, taking a decisive 15-3 lead before River Ridge came storming back to make it 15-11.
The Chieftains closed out the set with a 25-16 victory to even the score at 1-1.
The third and fourth sets were the closest two of the match, with numerous ties and a few lead changes.
In the third set, River Ridge’s Christine Fischer put down a kill to pull the T-Wolves within 21-20 of the Chieftains.
A block by Claire Webster made it 23-22 in favor of the Chieftains, who then scored the next two points to collect a 25-22 victory on a kill by Ashley Flesch.
The fourth set saw River Ridge take a 20-18 advantage on a kill by Kelsey Martin, but Potosi kept things close right to the end.
Serving for the game with a 24-21 lead, River Ridge gave up three straight points to the Chieftains, but managed to put the game away with a Webster kill for a 25-23 victory.
Coach Dianne Langmeier’s squad carried their momentum into the fifth and deciding set, where they jumped out to a 9-3 lead.
With kills from Kate Mish and Ashley Flesch, the Chieftains pulled to within 9-7, but in the end River Ridge sealed the deal on a Traci Kirschbaum block, which sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
Kirschbaum led the Timberwolves with 16 kills, while Claire Webster added nine blocks.
Chelsey Knapp came away with a team-high 30 digs, while Kelsey Martin came up equally as big with digs against Potosi’s big hitters.
Dishing out 18 assists was setter Angie Breuer, while Martin and Rachel Henkel each served up one ace.
For Potosi, Ashley Flesch finished the night with a team-high 21 kills and 15 digs, while Rylie Bausch had 18 blocks.
Emily Hill served up four aces and dished out an impressive 53 assists.
The Timberwolves advanced to Saturday’s regional final with a 3-0 sweep of Shullsburg last Tuesday night, followed by a 3-0 sweep of North Crawford the following Thursday.
Potosi reached the regional final match with a 3-0 sweep of Wauzeka on Tuesday, and a 3-1 victory of Seneca on Thursday.
River Ridge 3, Potosi 2
(WIAA D4 regional final from Saturday, Oct. 22)
Potosi 15 25 25 23 11
River Ridge 25 16 22 25 15
Kills - P: Ashley Flesch 21; RR: Traci Kirschbaum 16. Blocks - P: Rylie Bausch 18; RR: Claire Webster 9. Digs - P: Ashley Flesch 15; RR: Chelsey Knapp 30. Aces - P: Emily Hill 4; RR: Kirschbaum 1, Kelsey Martin 1, Rachel Henkel 1. Assists - P: Hill 53; RR: Angie Breuer 18.