The dream season continues for the Southwestern varsity volleyball team, who punched their ticket to the program's first-ever state tournament berth last Saturday night.
The Wildcats (30-2) have been playing some outstanding volleyball in recent weeks, which was evident in sectional play, where they swept Markesan, 3-0, last Thursday night, and then upset Wisconsin Height, 3-2, on Saturday.
Coach Jane Wills' squad next has a meeting with Oostburg (44-3) this Friday at 1 p.m. at the WIAA state tournament held at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
The winner of that match will play either Grantsburg (32-1) or Spencer (33-7) for the D3 state title on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Against Wisconsin Heights last Saturday evening at Mineral Point, the Wildcats took the early momentum with a 25-20 victory in the first set, thanks in most part to 10 kills from senior middle hitter Katelyn Hoppman.
The Vanguards responded with victories of 25-19 and 25-15 in the second and third sets, taking a 2-1 lead over the Wildcats.
Refusing to go out quietly, Southwestern mounted a furious comeback, and with three straight kills by senior Alyssa Iserman, closed out the fourth set with a 25-16 victory.
Coming down to a fifth and deciding set to 15, Southwestern jumped out to a 3-0 lead, then extended their advantage to 10-6.
Knowing her team was on the brink of a state tournament berth, Hoppman put and end to the match with a block and a kill to give Southwestern a 15-8 victory.
Hoppman finished the sectional final match with 24 kills, 13 digs and five blocks, while Iserman added 13 kills to the win.
Senior setter Molly Wubben dished out a team-high 35 assists and came away with 12 digs, while Kiera Doyle served up three aces.
The Wildcats advanced to last Saturday's sectional final after sweeping Markesan two nights earlier at Deerfield.
In the first set, Markesan took a quick 5-2 lead, which didn't last long, as the Wildcats ended up with a 25-11 victory.
In the second set, the two teams were knotted at 11-11, but coach Wills' squad was able to pull away for a 25-16 victory.
The third set saw Southwestern roll to a 12-1 lead before finishing with a 25-11 victory.
Hoppman and Iserman each finished the night with 18 kills, Hoppman added four blocks and four ace serves.
Wubben distributed 29 assists and had nine digs, while Katie Droeszler also had four ace serves to her credit.
Just a note to those who can't make the trip to Green Bay, this Friday's state semifinal matches will be streamed live on the internet on foxsportswisconsin.com.