CUBA CITY – Before Cuba City could earn their share of this year’s Southwest Wisconsin Activities League championship title, they first had to deal with a pair of foes.
The Lady Cubans got the job done by sweeping both Boscobel, 3-0, at home on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and Darlington, 3-0, on the road on Thursday, Oct. 15, to earn a piece of the SWAL crown for the fourth year in a row.
“It is always a team goal that we contend for the SWAL title. After losing to Southwestern in September, I think there were some confidence issues. As we transitioned into the second half of the season and cleaned things up, they knew they had something to play for. However, even after defeating Southwestern on October 6, there were no guarantees,” said Cuba City head coach Keri Lawson.
Southwestern locked up a piece of this year’s crown as well by beating Fennimore and Riverdale by sweeps last week.
“When you hang something in front of this group, they go after it. A lot of the energy came from the players. The seniors have been a part of four SWAL titles. I think they just wanted to finish the job, even if it had to be shared,” stated Lawson.
The Cubans (27-6 overall, 11-1 SWAL) came out strong in their match against the Bulldogs and rolled to wins of 25-10, 25-7 and 25-8 en route to the sweep.
“The girls came out strong in all areas of the game. As a team, we served up 12 aces, had an exceptional hitting percentage and overall controlled the match,” said Lawson. “Boscobel struggled to get anything going, and I was pleased to see that we didn’t step back. It was nice to see everyone contributed and played relaxed allowing their skills to take over.”
Jessi Marti and Kaitlyn Kaiser led the team with eight kills apiece, while Marti served up five aces and Kaiser added five blocks. Setter Ally Averkamp handed out 11 assists and Morgan Vosberg led the team with six digs.
Coach Lawson’s squad a bit of a tougher time with Darlington on Thursday, struggling to a 25-18 decision in set one before coming back with wins of 25-10 and 25-11 to lock up their piece of the title.
“Unlike Tuesday, we were not the aggressors. Darlington came out aced us on serve receive immediately, and that seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the evening. Set one was back and forth. We had to settle in and make some runs once it got into the late teens,” explained Lawson. “Sets two and three were a little smoother. We still gave up too many points on unforced errors and had some communication issues to go along with it. Everyone recognized that we played flat and without emotion. Hopefully, they got the uglies out and are ready to go next week.”
Marti pounded down a team-high 11 kills. Kaiser tallied nine kills, four blocks and 11 digs in the win.
Averkamp distributed 11 assists, while Megan Hartl led the team with 15 digs and Emily Wiederholt provided four aces and two blocks for the Cubans.
The WIAA volleyball tournament series began on Tuesday, Oct. 20, with Division 3 regional quarterfinal games. The top-seeded Lady Cubans received an opening round bye.
The Cubans advance to the semifinal round to host the winner of Tuesday’s match between #4 New Glarus and #5 Parkview on Thursday, Oct. 22, at CCHS at 7 p.m. Thursday’s winners advance to the regional final on Saturday, Oct. 24, also at 7 p.m.
“I think we are sitting in nice position. We have played some of our best volleyball in the last three weeks. The main theme is that you have to bring it every night,” Lawson said. “It’s one and done and everyone wants to upset the higher seed. I am still hoping to see another level from these kids. I know it’s there, and the next two weeks would be a great time to unleash it!”
Boscobel………. 10 7 8
Cuba City……… 25 25 25
At Cuba City on Tuesday, Oct. 13
Cuba City……… 25 25 25
Darlington…….. 18 10 11
At Darlington on Thursday, Oct. 15