WAUSAU NEWMAN SLIPS PAST MARSHFIELD COLUMBUS IN WIAA DIVISION 4 GIRLS VOLLEYBALL SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL
By Paul Lecker
For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Columbus Catholic and Wausau Newman Catholic girls volleyball teams have met in the WIAA playoffs in each of the past four seasons, with Newman winning each time on its way to the state tournament.
On Thursday, the two teams met again, this time in the WIAA Division 4 sectional semifinals, and for the first time in the past five seasons, the match was at Columbus Catholic High School.
Unfortunately for the Dons, the result was the same.
Columbus battled back from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth-and-deciding set, but the Cardinals were able to eke out a 3-2 win, ending the Dons’ season again.
Newman Catholic won 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 15-25, 15-6, to move on to a Division 4 sectional final against Wabeno/Laona in Suring at 7 p.m. Saturday. The winner moves on to the 2019 WIAA State Girls Volleyball Tournament in Green Bay on Nov. 7-9. Newman will be shooting for its ninth-straight state appearance.
"I'm proud with how my girls played tonight," Columbus Catholic coach Kat Egle said. "Dorci Walker played on a sprained ankle and the other players stepped it up. We played through some tough calls during the match and stayed strong as a team. We are going to miss the seniors and it was a blessing to have coach them. This was a special team."
The first set was tight, foreshadowing what a close match it would be.
The lead changed hands six times, with neither team leading by more than four. Columbus Catholic pulled ahead for good after kills by Dorci Walker and Maria Taylor, which made it 22-1.
The teams alternated points until the Dons finished off the 25-23 win with a kill by Jessica Jakopin, who finished with 11 kills in the match.
Columbus looked like it might take control of the match in the second set, rolling out to a 10-3 lead as Walker, Jakopin and Taylor had kills.
Newman Catholic rallied however, and the set made a big turn when Lauren Shields took over serving for the Cardinals.
A sideout, on a kill by Linnea Svennes, brought Newman to within 12-9 and Shields ripped off nine points, six coming from aces as the Dons couldn’t figure out a way to control the knuckling serve.
Columbus came as close as 19-16 after a block kill by Jakopin, before the Cardinals scored six of the final seven points to earn a 25-17 win.
Newman never trailed in the third set as Svennes and Shields each had four kills, and the Cardinals won 25-20.
With its season on the line, Columbus Catholic used a monster run to gain control of the fourth set.
Newman led 10-7 before a kill by Walker earned a sideout. Jakopin had another block kill and Ashley Herman had back-to-back aces to give the Dons the lead for good at 12-10.
Walker served five-straight points to make it 19-12, and after Newman scored two points, the Dons finished off a 25-15 win with a 6-1 run, forcing a fifth set.
Columbus led 4-3 before Newman turned it on. An ace by Angela Rougeot-Donath and two kills by Shields that she dumped in an open far left corner of the Dons’ defense, helped the Cardinals take command at 9-4.
A serve into the net by the Dons sparked a 4-0 run to end the match by Newman, the final point coming on another Shields’ kill.
Svennes had 20 kills, Shields finished with 19 kills and seven service aces, and Stevie Samuels had 32 assists for Newman.
Emmalee Jicinsky also had 11 kills, Meghan Kibbel had 20 assists, and Walker had 10 kills for the Dons.