The East Troy High School volleyball team celebrates WIAA Division 2 regional title after beating Wisconsin Lutheran 3-1 at home on Saturday. Team members include (front, from left) Myranda Dallas, Mikelyn Olsen, Kylie Katrichis, Chloe Jakscht, Jenna Hodges, Katie Hodges, Carly Atchison, (back) assistant coach Josh Herrell, assistant Caitlin Dolan, Katrina Santos, M.E. Dodge, Bryzena Santos, Brittney Jakscht, Kelsey Kiesow, Alyssa Scuric, head coach Jeremy Weis and assistant coach Linda Dodge. (Bob Mischka photo)

By Derek Kiesow

Correspondent

Its work is far from done, but the East Troy High School volleyball team took a huge step toward making it to state for the first time in over 20 years as it notched its first regional championship under head coach Jeremy Weis.

Coming off an impressive dominating Oct. 18 victory over the eighth seeded Pewaukee Pirates 25-9 25-10 25-17, East Troy (No. 1) was matched up against Wisconsin Lutheran on Oct. 20 in the regional final.

WISCO, playing the Trojans in the WIAA Division 2 playoffs for the second straight year, came into the match seeded fourth in East Troy’s regional and sixth in the state, according to the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

The Vikings had a chip on their shoulders from the start, as they came to East Troy to avenge their early season losses to the Trojans.

The Black and Gold held a 3-0 season advantage and eagerly looked to up that record in the regional final.

East Troy, playing in front of its largest crowd of the season, got off to a sluggish start. The home team fell behind early and Weis was forced to use a quick timeout down 6-9. The fired up WISCO team would not allow East Troy back into the match, as the Vikings extended their lead up to five points.

Every time East Troy seemed to close the gap, WISCO would go on a run of their own, never letting the Trojans within three points.

Down 15-19, the momentum then changed in favor of East Troy, as the Trojans began to make their move. East Troy moved the game within one point, 20-21, when a costly overpass by WISCO allowed the Trojans to tie things up.

With the score at 21-21 the Vikings’ coach was forced to use her first timeout of the match. The stunned WISCO squad never regained their composure as East Troy took the next four points, ending the game ahead, 25-21.

The first game comeback was big for East Troy as the Trojans ended on a 10-2 run.

Coach Weis said he was thrilled to see East Troy start to play a faster tempo game to end the set.

“It was huge for us to be able to come back and get the win in that first set,” he said. WISCO played us tough from the start and we would have been facing a huge uphill battle if we would not have gotten our act together.”

WISCO was able to shake off the shock of the Trojan comeback quickly, as the team once again jumped out to an early lead. The lead swelled to seven points at 11-18 when East Troy took a timeout. The break did wonders for the Trojans, as East Troy began to reel in the Vikings. Showing off their amazing defensive talents, East Troy came away on the winning side of the longest point of the match, forcing WISCO to use a timeout to catch its breath at 16-20.

The Black and Gold’s momentum continued, as they shrunk the lead down to the slimmest of margins at 19-20. WISCO, not allowing a second late game collapse, picked up its play and reeled off the next five points. WISCO evened up the match at one game apiece with the 19-25 game win.

In the changeover between games, Weis reminded his team of what they do best – playing great defense and out transitioning the opposing team.

“I was hoping for a bit more effort and that is exactly what I got,” said Weis.

East Troy was able to get off to a better start to the third game, as both teams played to an 11-11 tie.

At that time Weis called for some mid-match adjustments that turned the tide for the home team.

East Troy’s changes allowed a larger front row to offer up a larger block that helped neutralize the big swings of WISCO. The Black and Gold scored the next three points to take control of the set. The Trojans finished the set up 25-17 and took the 2-1 game lead.

In the fourth game, East Troy continued playing inspired volleyball and once again got off to a fast start.

The Trojans played to a five-point lead when WISCO called a timeout down 18-13. Out of the break, WISCO returned with newfound confidence on the court. That confidence seemed to surprise the Trojans with East Troy beginning to play its most tentative volleyball of the night.

In an attempt to cool off the fiery Vikings, East Troy used a timeout of its own that did little to slow down WISCO. The Trojans soon found themselves no longer in control of the set with both teams tied at 21-21.

At this crucial time, East Troy’s home court advantage took control, as the pro-Trojan crowd backed their team en masse.

“That was the loudest our crowd as been all season,” said Weis. “If you can’t raise your game when you hear your fans cheering you on like that, you might need someone to check you out.”

The Trojans did exactly that, taking their game to the next level to win four of the next five points, 25-22 and take the 3-1 match victory.

The key to the match was the third game adjustments. Weis said he wasn’t happy with how things were going and noted that he needed to make a change.

“The girls that I put in there really made their presence felt,” said Weis. “The best thing about it was that everyone on the team is willing to do whatever it takes to win matches. As a coach it is a great feeling to have players that can play different positions. It is never a bad thing to know more than one spot on the floor. It makes you more valuable in the end.”

Team leader freshman M.E. Dodge ended the match with 13 kills. Brittney Jakscht added 39 assists. Mykie Olsen tallied two aces and 25 digs while Alyssa Scuric notched five blocks.

Eyes on the prize

With the win, East Troy now plays Catholic Memorial (No. 2) in Pewaukee on Thursday, Oct. 25.

The East Troy/Catholic Memorial sectional semi-final match-up pits the top two ranked teams in Wisconsin against each other.

Weis said fans should look for powerful swings and some unbelievable digs on Thursday.

“You are going to see a little difference in the teams where CMH depends on their powerful swings, we will be all about defense and our fast transition game,” said Weis. “If I was a fan, I know where I would be on Thursday night at 7 p.m.”

Weis asked for the community to come support the Trojans on Thursday, as he said the girls play best when the student section and crowd get loud and crazy.

“I know that we will need that same type of fans support on Thursday when we take on Catholic Memorial,” he said.

The winner will play for the sectional championship and trip to state on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Catholic Memorial.

 
 

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