LANCASTER - Never making it to sectional competition, Lancaster varsity volleyball coach Tiffany Michalkiewicz has led two other teams to the WIAA Division 3 regional final in her six years as head coach.
But as last Saturday night proved, the third time was the charm for Michalkiewicz and the Flying Arrows, who advanced to play in Thursday night’s sectional semifinal after knocking off Aquinas in three straight sets and winning a regional title.
“Our success is depended on every member of our team showing up and working together,” said coach Michalkiewicz. “Everyone has a vital part on our team.”
“This starts in practice. The girls have been working hard and doing the little things correct,” Michalkiewicz added. “I thought the girls did a nice job of maintaining the game plane and taking it point by point focusing on our first contact.”
The Arrows advanced to last Saturday’s regional final by sweeping Darlington last Tuesday, followed by a sweep of Iowa-Grant last Thursday.
Against Darlington, Jena Vesperman led the charge with 10 kills and six ace serves, while Jena Hore dished out 18 assists to Haley Hentrich’s 11.
Paige Duncan also contributed a team-high 11 digs, as the Arrows won by scores of 25-6, 25-11 and 25-14.
Last Thursday night against Iowa-Grant, the Arrows put the Panthers away in three straight game, 25-14, 25-11 and 25-23.
Courtney Mumm led Lancaster with 13 kills, while Katrina Polkinghorn was close behind with 12. Mumm also had a team-high two blocks.
Hentrich distributed 38 assists, while Stephanie Tranel had 20 digs and Jena Vesperman 10 aces.
On the night, Lancaster had a total of 17 aces, keeping the Panthers off balance the entire time.
Many thought Aquinas would be a much tougher match up for the Arrows, but as Lancaster showed, it’s going to take a better team than that to end their season.
In the first game, the two tams were knotted at 2-2 before Lancaster broke loose to take a 12-2 lead.
Serving six straight points for the Arrows was Vesperman, who had three straight aces in that span as well.
The Arrows extended their lead to 20-6 before closing out the first game, 25-11.
Game two was the closest of the three, and saw Aquinas jump out to a 6-1 advantage.
Lancaster evened things up at 9-9, and the two teams traded points for a 15-15 tie.
Lancaster then took a slim lead at 17-15 and never trailed again before claiming a 25-22 victory.
The third game started off tight, as Lancaster held a slim 7-6 advantage before blowing the game open.
The Arrows extended their lead to 16-7, then 20-9 before claiming a 25-11 victory and the regional title along with it.
Polkinghorn finished the match with a team-high 14 kills, while Hentrich dished out 38 assists.
Vesperman came away with two blocks, while Tranel had 19 digs and Duncan four aces.
With their overall record of 30-3, the Flying Arrows now move on to face the Cuba City Cubans (28-9) in a sectional semifinal contest held this Thursday night at Mineral Point High School. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
The second seeded Cubans are coming off a regional championship win over Southwestern, after knocking off Boscobel and Westby in earlier playoff action.
Lancaster 3, Darlington 0
(WIAA D3 regional quarterfinal from Tuesday, Oct. 16)
Darlington 6 11 14
Lancaster 25 25 25
Kills - Jena Vesperman 10. Digs - Pagie Duncan 11. Aces - Jena Vesperman 6. Assists - Jena Hore 18, Haley Hentrich 11. Blocks - Katrina Polkinghorn 1.
Lancaster 3, Iowa-Grant 0
(WIAA D3 regional semifinal from
Thursday, Oct. 18)
Iowa-Grant 14 11 23
Lancaster 25 25 25
Kills - Courtney Mumm 13, Katrina Polkinghorn 12. Digs - Stephanie Tranel 20. Aces - Jena Vesperman 10. Assists - Haley Hentrich 38. Blocks - Courtney Mumm 2.
Lancaster 3, Aquinas 0
(WIAA D3 regional final from Saturday, Oct. 20)
Aquinas 11 22 11
Lancaster 25 25 25
Kills - Katrina Polkinghorn 14. Digs - Stephanie Tranel 19. Aces - Paige Duncan 4. Assists - Haley Hentrich 38. Blocks - Jena Vesperman 2.