With everyone paying so much attention to the unbeaten Colfax and Elk Mound volleyball teams, nobody really noticed that the Boyceville Bulldogs were also undefeated in conference play when they entered the Vikings’ gym Oct. 7. The Bulldogs had been flying under the radar with a mix of some experienced seniors and talented underclassmen as well as a new coach. But it was Parents and Senior Night for Colfax and the Vikings came out on fire and made it a short evening with a three set win.
Traveling to Spring Valley two days later, they followed the same pattern and finished off the Cardinals in three sets, setting up a conference championship match at Elk Mound Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Colfax pulled ahead in set one 11-4 in part by three Kori Buchanan kills and a block at the net while Chey Olson served up four points with an ace. Boyceville got to within three points with senior Abbey Bird serving and fellow senior Alexa Peterson blocking a Buchanan shot and Erica Sempf slamming a kill. But the Vikings had too many weapons for Boyceville to cover as Katie Christoffel served up an ace, Marianne Scharlau scored on a block and a tip and Dannielle Dachel had her own kill to build a 19-11 lead. Lakken Meredith, the number one setter for the team, served up three points with two aces and back row specialist Bryana Buchanan scored on a kill from mid court for a 21-12 advantage. After another Dachel kill and two Boyceville errors when they couldn’t handle Olson’s serves, Meredith put the set away with a quick tip for a 25-14 win.
The Bulldogs were dealt a big blow early in set two when Bird lost her footing and went to the floor hard on her knee. After being helped off the court, she spent the rest of the match on the bench, forcing coach Corrie Roemhild to adjust her lineup. Colfax was ahead 4-3 at the time then struggled for the next few minutes and couldn’t get ahead by more than a point. The score was knotted at 5-5, 6-6, 8-8, 10-10 and 13-13 before Olson smacked a shot past a Bulldog block attempt and Meredith sent two unreturnable serves over the net for a 16-13 Colfax lead. Dachel scored on a quick tip. Scharlau and Makayla Mattson combined for a block and a Dachel ace serve gave the Vikings a 21-15 lead. Boyceville fought back to get within three points, down 21-18, but they had no answer for Kori Buchanan as she slammed a kill, served twice and scored the final two points with big spikes, the final one bouncing off a Bulldog player, for a 25-20 second set win.
“I give Boyceville a lot of credit after one of their starters was injured,” Colfax coach Pam Meredith said. “Abbey is a four year varsity player for them and that really changed their dynamics with her out. But they gave us all we could handle in the second set.”
Olson came up with three of the Vikings first six points of the third set when she blocked a shot, scored on a straight shot to the floor kill and added a tip for a 6-2 lead. After a long rally, Kori Buchanan finished off another point with a kill and Dachel served an ace for a 10-5 advantage. A Boyceville kill and some Colfax errors allowed the Bulldogs to get back into the game with the Vikings up just 13-10, but solid serving by Kori Buchanan along with blocks by Olson and Dachel put Colfax back in control at 19-13. Boyceville did their best to try and block Buchanan’s slams, and although they managed to get their hands on the ball in the backcourt, the ball went out of bounds twice off dig attempts, allowing Colfax to up the score to 23-16. A Scharlau kill and an Olson ace finished off the set and match at 25-16.
“We played a consistent match against a very talented team,” coach Meredith said. “It was a nice win for us on Parents and Senior Night.”
Kori Buchanan led the Vikings with 14 kills to go with eight from Olson and four each from Meredith and Scharlau. The team had 13 service aces which included four by Meredith and three from Christoffel, Meredith had 24 of the team’s 31 assists and points were saved with 72 team digs as Kori Buchanan picked up 16, Olson 13, Meredith 10 and Dachel eight.
Colfax started a little sluggish, allowing the score to be tied at 9-9 before going on a roll and taking the first set 25-11. In set two, Dachel went to the serving line with the Vikings up 10-5 and when her serving rotation was done, Colfax led 24-6. Dachel had three aces in the run and two block-kills while Mattson saved several points on back row digs before the Vikings finished it off for a 25-6 win. Set three forced the Vikings to work a little harder, winning 25-15.
Kori Buchanan and Olson led the offensive attack with nine kills each and Dachel, after spending her first three years on varsity mainly as a setter, has turned into a force at the net, finished with five kills. Meredith was again the team leader in assists with 24, Kori Buchanan scored on six ace serves and Olson saved points with 12 digs to go with six from Christoffel.
“We have been able to pull ourselves out of a couple trouble sets throughout the season,” coach Meredith said. “It is nice to know we can battle back but we would prefer to start and finish a set or match within our level of play.”