By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND — It is the second-to-last week of the high school volleyball regular season, and coaches statewide attended the WIAA seeding meetings held this past weekend.
While most teams are playing their best ball as the conference and regular seasons come to a close, Elk Mound coach Sam Stelter knows her team has some kinks to work out before it is ready to play its first regional match.
The Mounders hosted Spring Valley October 3, and struggled to win the first two sets, both of which went to 26-24 before the home squad could put the Cardinals away in the third game for the match win.
Elk Mound then hosted the Elmwood Raiders October 5. The team handled the Raiders with a bit more ease, putting them away three sets to zero.
The Lady Mounders improved to 5-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix with the two conference wins and are 22-15 overall for the season after beating Gilmanton and Columbus Catholic (2-1 for both), and losing to Menomonie (1-2) at the September 30 Mondovi Invitational.
Elk Mound faced Glenwood City on the road October 10, and will play their final conference match at home this Thursday, October 12 against Mondovi. The Lady Buffaloes headed into a Tuesday match against Colfax with a 6-0 D-SC record.
Elk Mound will wrap up itsregular season with a tournament at Altoona this Saturday, October 14.
Although regional seeding meetings are not yet complete, the Mounders have a good chance of hosting in next Tuesday’s (October 17) opening round of the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament.
The Mounders’ October 3 home match against the Cardinals left a lot to be desired if you ask Sam Stelter.
“Last night didn’t go quite as we expected,” the Mounder volleyball coach said the day after. “We didn’t play well, and found ourselves out of system more often than we were in system. We had to work extra hard for each point we earned.”
With the home team off its game, the Spring Valley ladies definitely took advantage of the opportunity they were given. Stelter said the Cardinals served aggressively and the opposition’s defense picked up almost every ball Elk Mound sent its way.
The Lady Mounders still came away with a 3-0 win over the Lady Cards, with 26-24 wins in the first two sets before setting the Spring Valley girls back on their heels with a decisive 25-11 win in the third.
Stelter admitted the level of play she saw from the Mounders last Tuesday will not help her team win in the post season.
“If we want to win down the stretch, we’re going to have to play a much cleaner game than we did last night,” she explained.
Though, to be fair, she also expressed pride in Elk Mound’s down-to-business, gritty attitude to nab the first two set wins.
Junior Morgan Radtke again led the team offense, taking credit for 12 kills and a single service ace. Senior Madysen Borokfa set up 25 scoring attacks for the Mounders, logged an ace, and is credited with 12 digs.
Offensively, Cassidy Yakesh fired seven attack shots, Allie Weber is credited with six, Borofka landed five, Kourtney Zurbuchen recorded three, and Sophie Cedarblade and Kortnee Halgren each are credited with one kill. Alex Jenson, Cedarblade, Weber and Blaskowski earned an ace apiece.
Weber and Halgren also provided one assist each.
Defensively, Jenson led the team with 13 digs, Weber picked up 11, Blaskowski logged seven, Halgren tied Radtke with five, and Yakesh logged three.
Things appear to have gone more smoothly in the home match against Elmwood October 5.
The Mounders beat the Raiders 3-0 with scores of 25-6, 25-13 and 25-18 for the win.
Morgan Radtke again led Elk Mound’s offensive attack squad with 12 kills to average four per set. Allie Weber recorded seven kills, Cassidy Yakesh picked up five, Kourtney Zurbuchen logged four, Maggie Bartig chalked up three, and Kyla Egan is credited with two. Sophie Cedarblade, Madysen Borofka, Kortnee Halgren and Hailey Blaskowski all recorded one kill in the match.
Borofka provided all but two of the team’s scoring assists, logging another 30 for her senior season, and got help from Halgren and Zurbuchen who recorded one kill each.
Blaskowski used her shallow, speedy serve to nab five aces in the match, Borofka added two to the team total, and Cedarblade, Alex Jenson and Qwynn Tyman each added an ace to make it 10.
Borofka led the Mounders’ for digs, taking credit for 10 against the Raiders. Weber recorded nine, Cedarblade four, Jenson three, Radtke two, and Zurbuchen, Blaskowski, Bartig and Yakesh each account for a single dig.