By Amber Hayden
ELK MOUND — Colfax made the short trip to Elk Mound September 25 where the two rivals squared off in what would likely be the match that determined this year’s Dunn-St. Croix volleyball championship.
In one of the most intense contests of the season for either team, Colfax rallied for a three sets to two victory for the second straight season to give the Vikings a leg up on their hunt for a sixth consecutive conference championship.
Colfax, who improved to a perfect 4-0 in D-SC play following a three-set sweep of Elmwood September 27 and 19-5 overall, has now won eight of ten conference matches over Elk Mound since the 2009 season.
The Mounders, 18-10 overall, still remain in the title chase with a 4-1 record.
Both squads were also in action on September 27.
Returning home last Thursday, the Colfax Vikings took on the Elmwood Raiders and won in three sets, earning them their second win of the week.
Elk Mound made Thursday’s trek to Spring Valley and came away with another conference win in three sets.
Colfax vs. Elk Mound
There was plenty of excitement in the air as the Mounders and Vikings took to the volleyball court in Elk Mound last Tuesday, September 25, and could’ve been compared to that of any Super Bowl game or final’s game of the NBA Playoffs.
To say the least, when these two teams meet its a rivalry that is one for the ages, and fans and players can usually expect it to go all five sets.
And it did.
Elk Mound nipped Colfax 25-23 in the opening set but the Vikings drew even with a 25-20 victory in the second set only to have the Mounders flip it around in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with a 25-20 victory.
But the Vikings established the momentum in the fourth set winning a decisive decision, 25-11 before taking the fifth set and match with a 15-9 win.
“We told the girls, listen they (Elk Mound) are going to fight as hard as they can fight,” stated head coach Pam Meredith.
The opening set went to the host Mounders after Colfax had fought back from being down most of the set to knot the score at 22-22. But the Mounders went on to score the next three points for the 25-23 win.
“Last season, we went up 2-0 and then Colfax took over and we didn’t have an answer. We didn’t have a way to stop them, and we weren’t about to let that happen this year,” head coach Samantha Stelter stated, “When one thing didn’t work we were prepared with other options to try.”
Abigail Curry, libero for the Mounders, dug deep for Elk Mound with 18 digs including one where she would somersault to try and keep the ball from the floor only to have it go under the net instead.
“They (Elk Mound) had some digs I could not believe they got up, we know they fight and scrap,” stated Meredith.
Kameri Meredith led the Vikings attack with 18 kills, Rachel Scharlau added in 15 more kills and Samantha Pretasky contributed seven more.
Mounders middle blocker Morgan Radtke had a tough start in the second set with several missed kills and hitting the ball out that would bring Colfax to a 12-9 lead.
Radtke had 21 kills, one ace and 12 digs on the night for the Mounders offense and defense.
“Game two, we cleaned up some of the unforced errors at the net that we had in game one. We replaced that with missed serves in game two which hurt us,” coach Stelter explained.
Abigail Curry attempted another save for the Mounders during the second set, but an unfortunate hit caused the ball to go out of bounds letting the Vikings win set two 25-20.
A shot to the rafters by Colfax brought the ball down quickly and the Vikings couldn’t recover fast enough to keep the ball from the floor. Rachel Scharlau brought Colfax back into the game with a quick tip over the net but Elk Mound went on to win set three 25-21.
“I’ll tell you the difference in sets four and five,” commented coach Meredith, “we shifted our rotation, we didn’t know if it would pan out though.”
The fourth set would see the Mounders’ striking first but Colfax answered back with two points of their own including a shot that had Mounder players staring as it hit the ground.
Elk Mound couldn’t find an answer to the Colfax offense as they would take their first time out in the fourth. Down by ten and unable to find a way to make up the ground, Colfax took the set 25-11.
“Once you find yourself down, it can be really challenging to rally back,” stated Stelter, “So the girls came out and took the momentum back.”
Colfax libero Alyssa Dachel helped bring the win home in the fifth set off of several unanswered points, Dachel had three aces, 20 digs and two assists which helped bring the win home for Colfax in the fifth set with a score of 15-9.
“Kudos to Elk Mound they picked us apart, but a little testament to my girls mentally and physically,” commented coach Meredith, “they stayed with it and did not give up … you get your money’s worth when you come to one of these matches.”
Taylor Irwin of the Vikings had 21 digs against Elk Mound, Kameri Meredith tacked on 15 more and junior Jozie Buchanan tacked on 13 of her own.
“Obviously I’m disappointed and the girls are disappointed. However, as a team, we agreed that we played a great game, executed our offensive and defensive strategies well and fought hard,” commented coach Stelter.
Colfax vs. Elmwood
The Vikings returned home September 27 to take on Elmwood and secured another win pelting the Raiders in three by scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-7.
“Our double block of Sam Pretasky and Taylor Irwin on Elmwood’s outside hitter kept her contained as they had 5 block kills on her,” explained coach Meredith.
Irwin and Pretasky had nine assisted blocks between the pair, Irwin also had 14 digs and 23 assists against the Raiders.
Kameri Meredith led the offense with 17 kills, Samantha Pretasky contributed nine more and Savannah Henricks tacked on another five.
“Savannah Henricks has worked extremely hard at becoming more of an offensive threat and I know we will see the outcome of that effort as the season progresses,” stated Meredith, “her leadership on the floor is a strength that we need!”
Alyssa Dachel has expanded her defense range according to coach Meredith, allowing her to read the hitter better. Dachel served up two aces and five digs against the Raiders.
Colfax played in Glenwood City last evening, October 2. The Vikings then return home tomorrow (Thursday, October 4) to match up with Mondovi. Colfax then heads back to Spring Valley next Monday, October 8 for a rescheduled match against The Cardinals. Colfax will wrap up the conference schedule on October 11 with a home contest against Plum City.
Elk Mound vs. Spring Valley
Making the trip to Spring Valley September 27 after an exhausting Tuesday night match up against Colfax, the Mounders volleyball took to the court with high energy and adrenaline.
Taking the win from Spring Valley in three with scores of 25-13, 25-18 and 25-23.
“The girls came out ready to play, I had a feeling in warm-ups the girls were really ready to just control the game from the start,” explained coach Stelter.
Morgan Radtke was ready for Spring Valley putting down 18 kills for the Mounders and McKenna Diermeier helped out with nine of her own.
Senior Kortnee Halgren proved strong with 23 assists, four aces and six digs to add to her career for the Elk Mound team.
“During the first time out of the game I told the girls, ‘I don’t have anything to tell you, passing is on the money, our sets are where they need to be and we’re attacking aggressively on offense,’” Stelter stated.
Abigail Curry and McKenna Diermeier led the defense with 10 digs a piece, Morgan Radtke added six and Qwynn Tyman and Hailey Blaskowski each had 3 a piece.
The Mounders traveled to Elmwood October 2 to take on the Raiders and return home to face Glenwood City this Thursday in the final regular-season home match. Elk Mound will then finish the conference season with a match in Mondovi next Tuesday.