As the regular season winds down this week for the Cuba City volleyball team, last week proved as a preparation for regionals.
At Southwestern on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Cubans were unable to take a set or slow down Southwestern's dual threats of Katelyn Hoppman and Alysa Iserman. "Our back defense did not handle Hoppman and Iserman's attack," Cuba City head coach Keri Lawson said. "We also were caught on our heels on serve receive, especially when they jump served at us." The Cubans played with them for the half of the set, they were missing serves, but Cuba City struggled to find any offense to get any runs started. "Southwestern has a comfortable system, everyone knows their role, and when Hoppmann is in the front row you have to be able to make some plays," Lawson said.
Mikayla Kaiser had four kills while Sam Steines chippd in with four blocks. Miranda Richard tallied 17 digs and two service aces while Brianna Morrissey had six assists.
At Mineral Point last Thursday, the Cubans bounced back from the Southwestern loss with a three game set victory over a much improved Pointer team, 25-19, 25-21, 25-8. Cuba City was down by six and regrouped to outscore Point 9-1. "It was nice to see we could come out of a hole," Lawson said. "Once we settled into a comfort zone we played with more poise."
Cuba City took a lead in set two but struggled to finish when they hit 20, Point came back from being down 5 points and got as close as 21-24. "We need to work on finishing games and commit fewer errors down the stretch," Lawson said. Set three was all Cuba City, after a great 6-0 start. "Once we get going and passing is on we take swings, Point ran out of steam having to play defense, so we stayed aggressive at the net."
Taylor Pickel led with 11 kills while Kaiser had seven and Richard added six kills and 15 digs. Morrissey added 12 assists
The Cubans took part in their last tournament of the regular season with a trip to Reedsburg on Saturday. The Cubans went 3-2 on the day with a fifth place finish. In pool play, The Cubans defeated Westfield, 25-10, 25-6 before losing to Hillsboro, 26-27, 18-25 and Oregon, 20-25, 25-13, 12-15. The day finished with Cuba City defeating Melrose-Mindoro in three sets, 25-13, 11-25, 15-12. In the
5th place crossover game, the Cubans defeated Mineral Point, 25-12, 25-13.
"We wanted to take a step as a team, play better, play competitive and get some wins," Lawson said. In pool play Cuba City faced to of the better teams in the tournament (Oregon & Hillsboro), both who had powerful hitters. "We played pretty well in both matches, but we just didn't play a full set." Lawson said.
Capped set score of 27 left Cuba City unable to pursue a close first set against Hillsboro. "Losing that one was tough since we were playing well," Lawson said. "I was hoping we could take that level into the second set but we fell behind early."
The other close match was against Oregon, where the Cubans pushed into a three set match. "After we played lights out in set two it looked as if we had the momentum to make a charge in set three," Lawson said. Things looked promising as the Cubans were up 10-7, then Oregon found some magic and went on an 8-2 run. "It was disappointing we were not able to win against some of the better teams but we did see improvement, we still need to play to win and play hard the entire set if we want to win."
Steines paced all with 26 kills and five blocks while Kaiser added 25 kills. Pickel finished with 23 kills and five blocks. Richard led the defensive attack with 45 digs and 19 kills. Kayla Marti tallied 61 assists and 38 digs. Rachel Jansed added 29 digs and eight service aces.
The Cubans traveled to Darlington Tuesday night and will face Boscobel tonight (Thursday) at home. The Cubans improve their overall record to 19-13 and SWAL record to 7-3.