By Jason Zaleski
Our third in a series of WIAA volleyball playoff bracket previews. Today’s look is D1, Section 1A filled with a heavy dose of Central Wisconsin teams from the Big Rivers and Wisconsin Valley conferences. Plus the grey duck, Superior.
Before we begin, it is worth noting that volleyball coaches across the state have resisted computer seeding. I believe this is a mistake and the coaches would be best suited to leave the process to a mathematical conclusion. All too often we see coach alliances bungle the true meaning of high school sports post season play. A computer seeding process takes out the emotion, lack of knowledge from outside of your team’s schedule, and leaves only an extract of pure playoff reward. With the absence of a computer seed, you get me.
This is a projected bracket based on math and my unbiased knowledge of all 14 teams. Enjoy!
Chippewa Falls is as close to a runaway top seed as I have found across all sections and all divisions regarding this upcoming 2022 volleyball postseason. Coach Luke Heidtke’s Cardinals have check almost every box this year and will head into this tournament as championship favorites. Almost every box? A season split with River Falls will have the Wildcats feeling somewhat confident should a sectional semi-final rubber match occur on Thursday, October 27th.
So, what about the River Falls Wildcats? The tournament pedigree will follow coach Sara Kealy to this year’s tournament as River Falls has went to state six consecutive years. Loses to Manitowoc Lincoln and Howards Grove keep River Falls from challenging Chippewa on the one line.
Coach Dawn Sakowska’s Marshfield Tigers look to claim the third seed spot with an outstanding 27-3 overall record and a Wisconsin Valley Conference championship. A season opening loss to Chippewa, 2021 D2 champ Lux-Casco, and an early Saturday morning trip-up against Green Bay Southwest are the only blemishes on the season. Wins over Hudson, EC North, EC Memorial, and to this point every WVC opponent give Marshfield a lock on the three seed.
Most of the remaining 11 seeds are weighted first by conference affiliation with the Big Rivers getting bonus points over the Wisconsin Valley.