After receiving the number seven seed in the regional tournament, the Elk Mound volleyball team played host to the number 10 seed Onalaska Luther Knights Tuesday, Oct. 22. The Knights had a long ride home after a short stay as the Mounders took three straight games for a first round victory. The win allowed Elk Mound to take a long trip themselves, traveling to La Crosse to face the number two seed Aquinas team two days later. Their long ride home was pretty joyful however, as they upset the Blugolds, winning in five tough sets. That win took them to a regional final contest in Arcadia to face off against the Raiders, the number three seed. And for the second straight season, the Mounders ended their season in a regional championship game as they were swept by a much taller Arcadia team.
Elk Mound 3-Luther 0
Of the 75 points the Mounders scored in the 25-20, 25-17, 25-16 win, 42 came off kill shots and 10 came from service aces. Elly Friberg came up will 11 of those kills, Anna Sessions added 10, Morgan Polden nine, Lizzie Schreiber seven and Moriah Mauer four. Polden and Katie Johnson both had four aces and Johnson had a team leading 24 assists while Dayna Kotecki collected nine. On the defensive end, the Mounders covered the floor pretty well with 71 digs including 12 each by Mattie Pitts and Rachel Caron, 11 from Johnson, 10 by Polden, eight by Kyra Anderson and five apiece from Sessions and Schreiber. Friberg, Schreiber, Mauer and Sessions all denied points at the net with one block each.
Elk Mound 3-La Crosse Aquinas 2
The Mounders came out with a bang and took the first set against Aquinas 25-20 then dropped the second one 25-16. They rebounded with a 25-18 win in set three and according to coach Donna Weix, they struggled in the fourth set and lost 25-11. They came back yet again to win the final set and the match 15-10.
“We regained our composure in the final set and pulled out the win,” Weix said.
Defense played a big part in the win as the Mounders came up with 62 digs in the match, led by Caron with 17, Polden with 11, Pitts with nine and Kotecki with seven. Consistent serving also was a key as they put up 92 attempts and missed only four, while collecting nine aces, three by Friberg. Friberg also came up with five of the team’s nine solo blocks for the match and was tops for the team in kills with 12 to go with eight by Sessions and seven each from Schreiber and Polden. Johnson led in assists with 15 and Kotecki added 14.
The Raiders boasted a front line averaging over six feet, (according to their local TV cameraman), including six foot three inch Hanna Hoesley who covered the middle of the net pretty well all night. After a 3-3 tie in the first set, the Mounders let things slip away and fell behind 11-4 before Sessions put down a pair of kills to get the score to 12-6. Polden added a slam and the Mounders were behind 15-8 but the Raiders pulled ahead 21-10 as they found the open court several times for kills and put up roadblocks at the net to take the Mounder offense out of any rhythm they hoped to achieve. Friberg came down with a kill late in the set but Arcadia was up 23-14 and scored on a block and a Mounder error to win 25-12.
Elk Mound regrouped after falling behind 3-0 in set two as they knotted it up on a Friberg kill, a Raider error and an ace serve by Polden, and a Sessions kill tied it at 4-4 but the front line of Arcadia took control again. The Mounders couldn’t come up with more then a single point at a time the rest of the way and they dropped the set 25-9 as Hoesley finished it off with a shot straight down to the floor.
By this time the Mounders appeared to be totally frustrated and they fell behind in the third set 9-0 before putting a point on the board. Schreiber put down a kill and Serena Wieser and Friberg combined for a block to make the score 21-6 for Arcadia, and Schreiber scored the final point of the Mounder’s season with a kill before Hoesley put the game away again with a slam for the 25-7 win.
Elk Mound finished with a total of 18 kills in the match but had 16 errors as they tried to get over, around or through the Raiders defense. Sessions led the way with four kills with Friberg and Polden adding three each. Johnson set her teammates up 11 times while Polden had the only ace of the match as the team served 30 for 32. Caron came up with six digs, Sessions five and Wieser, Friberg and Schreiber four each.