It’s the first in a series of WIAA volleyball playoff bracket previews. Today’s look is D4, Section 2A filled with a heavy dose of Central Wisconsin teams from the Marawood, Cloverbelt, and CWC conferences.
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!
A deeper look at Athens and Columbus Catholic finds two very evenly matched teams. I fully expect to see the Jays and the Dons battle in a sectional semi-final with the winner in a state semi-final on November 4th.
Looking at Athens, a minor slip against Assumption on October 1st is what has them on the two line. A major result of the late Assumption loss is a trip to Marshfield for the aforementioned sectional semi rather than hosting the Dons. A record of 22-3 leaves a win percentage of .880, a fantastic regular season for coach Tanille Hartwig that has only Chequamegon left on Tuesday. A win over the Eagles and Athens will claim the outright Marawood North conference championship. Wins along the way against Prentice (27-6), St Croix Falls (20-4), Edgar (13-6) and even a loss to Chippewa (28-2) will have Athens ready to mow down playoff competition.
As for Columbus Catholic they are a mathematically, as in decimal dust mathematical, better team on paper than Athens. The tiebreaker? Coach Kat Egle’s Dons have three losses on the season: McDonell Central (D4 ranked #4) Hudson (D1 25-5), and River Falls (D1 ranked #9) are the only blemishes for the Dons, who only lost once in the entire month of September. Columbus will claim an outright conference title on Tuesday with a defeat of Spencer (1-17) and then look to finish perfect in the Cloverbelt East on Thursday at Gilman (6-8). The gym at Columbus Catholic on Thursday October 27th will be standing room only vs Athens.
Dark horse considerations: Tri County (17-3) and Newman Catholic (14-7). Either the Penguins or Cardinals could make a run in this bracket. Newman gets the nod seeding wise over Tri County even though they have a lesser record due to strength of schedule. SOS is the top consideration in a computer based seed process. Again, the computerized version is the recommended process for volleyball, looking at you coaches.