By Cara L. Dempski
The Elk Mound volleyball team seemed determined to finish its 2017 Dunn-St. Croix season with a bang last week.
Coach Sam Stelter took her ladies to Glenwood City on Tuesday, October 10 to take on the Hilltoppers, and left with a 3-0 win despite the Lady Toppers putting up something of a fight in all three sets.
The Mounders awoke the next day to the news that Colfax had bested Mondovi to clinch the Dunn-St. Croix championship outright, meaning the Elk Mound team would play the Buffaloes for second place the following day, October 12 at home. The Elk Mound ladies’ prevailed for a 3-1 win for a 7-1 conference mark and a second-place finish. The Mounders are 24-17 overall.
The team played a tournament at Altoona October 14. Information posted on Wissports.net indicated the Mounders lost to Hudson 2-0, to McDonell Central twice 2-0, and beat Osceola 2-0.
With the regular season complete, the fifth-seeded Mounders turned the WIAA Division 3 regional competition last night, October 17, hosting number-12 Spring Valley in a quarterfinal contest. The winner of that match will face the winner of the match between number-four Westby and 13th-seeded Viroqua October 19 for a chance at the regional title on Saturday, October 21.
If the Mounders were in need of a warm-up match prior to facing Mondovi later in the week, they got it last Tuesday at Glenwood City.
“A win is a win,” coach Sam Stelter said later in the week. “It’s always nice to get a tally in the win column, but these girls know that they’re going to have to start playing more consistently if they want to win next week.”
Stelter knows the level of play the Mounders will need to be at when they face Spring Valley October 17 is in there, but it did not seem to always shine through October 10 at Glenwood City.
Elk Mound battled through a 25-20 first set to go 1-0 in the match at the Hilltoppers’ home gym, before winning the second and third 25-16 and 25-18 for the 3-0 match win to move to 6-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix.
Allie Weber and Morgan Radtke tied each other on kills, with each taking credit for 11 against the Hilltoppers. Kourtney Zurbuchen added another eight, and Cassidy Yakesh fired in six for a total of 36 over three sets.
Senior Madysen Borofka accounted for 30 of Elk Mound’s 31 total game assists, with Kortnee Halgren adding the final set. Radtke led the team with five aces, Hailey Blaskowski recorded four, Weber added two, and Halgren and Sophie Cedarblade each tacked up an ace in the match.
Borofka led Elk Mound’s statistics for digs, taking 15 in the match, while Cedarblade logged 10, and Weber and Alex Jenson tied with nine apiece. Halgren and Blaskowski each recorded a pair of digs, and Zurbuchen and Radtke split another pair between them.
Stelter did not ask her team to do anything special to prepare to face off against the Lady Buffaloes at Elk Mound October 12.
“We’re sticking to the game plan we’ve had all year, and that’s to take care of business on our side of the net, and eliminate the unforced errors,” she explained. “We need to control the game and the energy from our side. If we can do that, we’re going to see success.”
The Mounders took on a skilled Mondovi squad likely still feeling the sting of losing the 2017 Dunn-St. Croix conference championship two days earlier, and bested them 3-1.
The Mounders and Buffaloes duked it out in the first set, with Elk Mound coming from a four-point deficit early in the set to tie things up at 10 and then trade the lead until late, when Elk Mound pulled out a 25-22 set win.
Mondovi blasted out of the gate in the second set and played all the way to a 25-17 win to knot the match up at 1-1, guaranteeing at least four sets of play.
But Stelter’s Mounder girls’ dug in during the third to retake the 2-1 lead with a 25-14 set win, before putting the Buffs away 25-20 in the fourth.
After the game, Stelter noted the second set loss was demonstrative of the roller-coaster ride volleyball can sometimes be, and indicated she saw her team play at a higher level for the win.
Morgan Radtke’s arm was put to good use in the match, and she led the kill statistics for Elk Mound with 15. Senior Kourtney Zurbuchen logged 11 kills, Allie Weber recorded seven, Cassidy Yakesh chalked up six, Madysen Borofka was credited with two, and Sophie Cedarblade, Kortnee Halgren and Kyla Egan each recorded one.
Borofka is credited with 36 of Elk Mound’s total assists, and Halgren tacked up one more to make it 37. Cedarblade and Weber each recorded a pair of aces, and Borofka and Alex Jenson logged one each. Weber took 16 digs in the match, Jenson accounted for 11, Cedarblade recorded eight, Borofka and Radtke had six each, Zurbuchen took three, and Yakesh took credit for one.
Elk Mound played a tournament at Altoona October 14, and went 3-1 on the day.
They were bested by Hudson 25-16 and 25-20, before losing straight sets to Chippewa Falls McDonell 25-16 and 25-22. The Mounder ladies picked up a win against Osceola after winning 25-18 and 25-22, but then fell a second time to the McDonell squad 25-6 and 25-16.