By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield volleyball team is clicking at the right time of the year in hopes of a long run in the WIAA playoffs.
The Tigers opened up postseason play with a dominating 3-0 sweep of Wisconsin Valley Conference rival Wausau East in a Division 1 regional semifinal Thursday night at Marshfield High School.
Third seed Marshfield won 25-15, 25-10, 25-17, to move on to a regional final on Saturday night at home against No. 6 seed Menomonie, which was a 3-1 winner over Wisconsin Rapids on Thursday.
“Our passing was kind of our downfall at the beginning of the season and we’ve really worked on that,” Marshfield coach Dawn Sadowska said. “We put some more pressure on them in practice and it really showed tonight. I thought our service passing and our free-ball passing was really good.”
Marshfield pulled away early in the first set, scoring five straight points on the serves of Reinya Balderson and Abby Ongna to cruise out to a 15-6 lead.
Two kills from Rylee Corteen, and one each from Ongna and Casey Frankland, put away a 25-15 win.
As dominating as the Tigers were in the opening set, they were even better in the second.
A 10-0 run that included three kills from Frankland and two from Caitlyn Pernsteiner essentially put the set away as Marshfield grabbed a 22-6 lead. A kill by Frankland ended it as the Tigers won 25-10.
Marshfield (31-8) scored the first six points of the third set before East put up a fight and got to within three at 9-6 on three kills by Makenzi Gale.
Eventually the Tigers pulled away. Balderson set up a Frankland kill to make it 20-13. After East climbed back to within 22-17, the Tigers got a sideout and finished off a 25-17 win on a kill by Corteen.
“You can do anything on a serve receive, or even digging where Reinya can use all three options,” Sadowska said. “It’s going to be tough for anyone to defend us.”
Frankland finished a team-high 15 kills and added 12 digs, Ongna had 16 digs and nine kills, and junior libero Elise Uphoff had 14 digs for Marshfield.
Balderson had 33 assists, Caitlyn Pernsteiner had seven kills, and Rylee Corteen had six kills, including four blocks, as well for the Tigers.
Gale had eight kills for Wausau East, which finishes the season with a 3-15 record.