By Cara L. Dempski
Heading into the final week of conference and regular season play, the Colfax volleyball team had its sights set on winning a fourth consecutive Dunn-St. Croix.
To accomplish that feat, the Vikings would need victories over Glenwood City and Mondovi in their final two matches of the 2016 regular season. The former would seem much easier to achieve than the latter considering that the Hilltoppers had yet to win a match this year and the Buffaloes were the Dunn-St. Croix’ lone unbeaten squad.
Colfax proved to be up to the task.
After knocking off the Hilltoppers three sets to one in Glenwood City last Tuesday, October 11, Colfax returned home October 13 to battle the Buffaloes, who won a five-set thriller over once-beaten Boyceville in their Tuesday match, for the conference crown. A win would give the Vikings a share of the volleyball title while a loss would send Mondovi back home with the outright championship.
Colfax delivered in a big way, sweeping Mondovi in three sets to claim a share of the title and continue its four year hold on the conference’s volleyball hardware. Both Colfax and Mondovi finished with identical 7-1 conference records.
Coach Pam Meredith’s Viking squad may have saved their best for last. Colfax took out Mondovi in three sets, winning with scores of 26-24, 25-18 and 25-13. The latest conference crown was the Vikings’ sixth title in the past eight seasons.
The Vikings looked ready to sweep the Hilltoppers in three sets October 11 after winning the first two sets 25-16 and 25-13. That was before the Glenwood team pounded out a series of unanswered scores to take the early lead in the third. The Toppers never let the Vikings take the lead and forced a fourth set by winning the third 26-24. Colfax appeared to have had enough by that point and made short work of the fourth set, beating the Hilltoppers 25-14 to take the set and win the match 3-1.
The Vikings, the fifth seed, meet the Mounders one last time this season as the teams squared off in the opening round of the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament last night in Elk Mound. The Mounders, who saddled the Vikes with their only conference loss – a 3-1 setback on October 4, earned the fourth seed. The winner will likely travel to Grantsburg to play the Pirates, ranked sixth in the latest Division 3 state poll, in Thursday’s semifinal round. Grantsburg opened against winless Glenwood City. The regional final is slated for Saturday, October 22.
Coach Meredith said the Colfax squad played a very effective, efficient match against the Lady Buffaloes on October 13. The Vikings won 3-0 to take a share of the 2016 D-SC volleyball title.
“What better way for the Vikings to finish the last conference match at home?” Meredith asked after the game. “This is the team we’ve seen all season in practice.”
The Vikings won their fourth consecutive title on the same night they honored senior players Erin Nellessen, Morgan Schleusner, Mady Decker and Bryana Buchanan.
Meredith said her team’s poise and confidence helped them battle back from three missed serves and 13 hitting errors to win the first set 26-24. She credits winning the first set with shifting the match momentum in Colfax’s favor.
Freshmen Kameri Meredith and Samantha Prestasky drove in seven kills each, while fellow freshman Rachel Scharlau took credit for another six. Meredith recorded 10 digs, and Pretasky logged a pair of solo blocks and a pair of block assists.
Sophomore Jozie Buchanan assisted on 21 scores, took 14 digs, and led the team with five aces. Her sister, Bryana, logged 14 digs, and senior Megan Schleusner provided another 10 digs.
Viking hitter Makayla Mattson drilled in a team-leading 10 kills and took three digs in Colfax’s 3-1 victory over the Hilltoppers October 11.
Freshman Kameri Meredith led the team in foiled attacks with her 20 digs, and tied with Rachel Scharlau with eight kills. Meredith also logged two aces in the match. Bryana and Jozie Buchanan tied with 17 digs apiece and three kills each.
Megan Schleusner and Mady Decker tied with eight digs each, but Schleusner was the only one of the two to take credit for kills. She had four on the evening and led the team with five ace serves. Decker provided one unanswered serve during the match.
Samantha Pretasky sent home seven kills, an ace, and three digs during the match. She also provided a solo block and block assist. Scharlau led the team in blocking after logging two solos and two assists. Schleusner provided one block assist, and Meredith went up to assist with two blocks.
Alyssa Dachel took credit for an ace serve, three digs, and one scoring assist. Jozie Buchanan was the team leader for scoring assists with 28, Mattson provided assistance on five, Meredith assisted for four scores, and Schleusner for two.
The Vikings also played a tournament at Altoona on October 8, and matched up with the Stanley-Boyd Orioles, Hudson Raiders, Colby Hornets and Eau Claire North Huskies. Colfax lost to the Orioles 2-0, Raiders 2-0 and Huskies 2-0, but beat the Hornets 2-1.
Freshmen Kameri Meredith and Samantha Pretasky led the Viking attack at the tournament, logging 30 kills between them. Jozie Buchanan sent in another 13 kills and Makayla Mattson drilled in 10. Senior Erin Nellessen and Sophomore Emma Hurlburt logged another five scoring attacks in the tourney.
Libero Bryana Buchanan led the team with seven aces, and Mady Decker and Meredith each served another five aces. Jozie Buchanan sent four unanswered serves over the net, Pretasky chalked up three aces, and senior Megan Schleusner took credit for one ace.
Rachel Scharlau, another freshman, led the team with five solo blocks and two block assists. Meredith logged two solo blocks, and Pretasky added a solo block and two block assists to her season stats.
The team totaled 124 digs in the tournament. Seniors Mady Decker and Bryana Buchanan took credit for 45 digs, with Decker turning away 25 and Buchanan accounting for 20 foiled attacks. Meredith logged another 17 digs, and fellow freshman Taylor Irwin put up 16.
Jozie Buchanan recorded nine digs, and Pretasky, Schleusner and Mattson took seven each. Nellessen took six digs, Alyssa Dachel and Hurlburt took four each, and Scharlau rounded out the total with two digs.
The freshman Buchanan also assisted on 34 scores during the weekend. Irwin provided another 13 assists, and Meredith assists on 10. Schleusner, Dachel, Hurlburt, Bryana Buchanan, and Pretasky all recorded one scoring assist at the tournament.