REEDSBURG—Receiving the No. 8 seed in its WIAA Division 1 sectional, the Reedsburg girls volleyball team was guaranteed at least one final game at Reedsburg Area High School.
The Beavers sent the home crowd happy Thursday night, earning a 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 sweep over ninth-seeded Tomah in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal match. It was the final high school match for Tomah seniors Lily Redcloud, Savannah Murphy and Courtney Leis.
Senior Kaitlyn Zunker notched a match-high 19 kills and senior Rachel Schmitt had 37 assists and a pair of aces to help lead Reedsburg to its first regional final since 2017, where the Beavers lost to top-seeded Waunakee.
“At this point in the season you can’t take anyone for granted,” Reedsburg coach Sheila Green said. “You have to be sharp and we were scrappy on a couple balls that kept us alive, so that was nice to see, and the girls were definitely energized. They were feeling the crowd and using it to their advantage.”
The biggest of those scrappy sequences happened nearing the end of the third set. After taking the first two sets, the Beavers (24-12) neared the sweep leading 20-14 late into the third set following a kill from sophomore Macie Wieman.
The Timberwolves (17-17) answered with three straight points, capped off by an ace from junior Abby Nick. Looking to inch closer, the Beavers ended the spurt as they won a marathon rally with a push kill into the back left corner by junior Delaney Horkan sealing the point and a 21-17 lead.
“Those are huge things,” Green said of the whirlwind rally. “When you’re down on the ground, keeping things alive and your teammates are paying attention and can flip it over the net. We still had to work and scrap, but those are huge momentum swings for your team and it’s great to see.”
The Beavers stretched their lead back out to as many as 24-19 following a Zunker kill, but the Timberwolves had one final push. Again Tomah tallied three straight points, including a pair of Reedsburg violations, to pull within 24-22, but it couldn’t get over the hump as Wieman hammered down another kill to close the door.
The Beavers executed early on in the first set as they jumped out to a quick 13-6 lead. The Timberwolves took a bite into the advantage, cutting it to as low as three at 15-12 after a Reedsburg kill sailed out of bounds, but the advantage never dwindled further.
Reedsburg responded with four straight points, capped off by consecutive Schmitt aces, and never looked back as a tip kill from Wieman, who finished with 15 putaways, finished the set at 25-17.
The Beavers got off to a much more sluggish start in the second set as the Timberwolves seized an early 10-5 lead. Momentum sharply turned however when a kill from Horkan cut the score to 10-6 and Tomah suffered a major loss as junior middle blocker Alyssa Whaley exited with a knee injury. Green acknowledged that Whaley’s exit was a significant loss for the Timberwolves.
Following the injury, Reedsburg slowly chipped away at the Tomah lead, ultimately taking its first lead at 16-15 on a Wieman ace. The Beavers’ momentum continued to build as they built a 22-18 lead on a Zunker kill and they were able to hold off another late Tomah charge to win the set.