Whippet volleyball player Miranda Reynolds taps the ball past Clinton during an Oct. 10 match. (Bob Mischka photo)

 

By Troy Sparks

Correspondent

The Whitewater volleyball team began their Division 2 regional match at Watertown Luther Prep on the right note but lost focus in the end to lose a three-match set that ended their season.

It was close in the first game. The 10th-seeded Whippets fought back to take a 12-10 lead on Oct. 17, and the lead changed hands five times. There were seven ties with the last one coming at 19-19. The seventh seed, and host Phoenix scored the last six points to win, 25-19.

“We’ve had moments like that in our season where we just don’t finish and we’re up and we need to finish,” Whitewater coach Kathy Bullis said. “And so, there were moments like that. And that happened like that in our season. It came back to haunt us in that first (game). But I really felt that they would regroup.”

Luther Prep raced to a 9-2 lead in the second game and scored the next 11 points. And just like that, the Whippets found themselves down by 18. They lost the second game, 25-8.

“(We needed to) make another push there and get momentum,” Bullis said. “(We needed to) finish playing strong and use that momentum into the next set.”

Whitewater didn’t make the adjustment from the second game and were in a 6-0 hole in the third game. They climbed back into the game to trail 9-8. The Phoenix went on runs of 4-0 and 9-0 to put the game away and win 25-14.

“We talked about how the teams that serve-receive the best are the teams that took the (match) and we win,” Bullis said. “When our serve-receive starts to fall apart, that’s what had happened. Our proud of how they battled back and they did get within two (points) a couple of times but then they used energy to get there but it just kind of slipped.”

Whitewater lost to Watertown Luther Prep, 25-19, 25-8 and 25-14.

 

Next year

Whitewater will lose five seniors this year on a team that finished at 17-23 overall and 4-6 in the Rock Valley Conference. They will have to lean on two juniors to lead the team next year.

“We will be young,” Bullis said. “We’re not going to be senior-dominated like we were this year. We’ll have two great juniors coming back. Catherine Yang, who’s really going to be our heart next year as our libero. And then we’ll get Anna Riemer back. We lost her the very first tournament of the year. She blew her ACL and broke her ankle and that was devastating.

“We lost a great outside (hitter), so we had to make an adjustment and move one setter to the outside and bring in another setter. We’re going to have great leadership with Anna Riemer and Catherine Yang. (Freshman) Cora Linos came in and set after the injury and she did a fine job. And then Emme (Bullis) was pushed to the outside and I think she did a really good job as a freshman being an outside hitter. They really had a lot of weight on their shoulders this year and I think they grew mentally and obviously just with their skills.”

There are some holes at positions that the team will need to address, Bullis said. The middle hitter spot will be one of them.

“Alyssa Schumacher, a sophomore this year, had seen some time on our varsity team. She knows that she’s going to have to come in and fill one of those middle roles next year, so we’re really looking forward to her and her leadership and her athleticism,” she said. “We still got to get one more middle and a right side (hitter), so we do have some holes.”

 

WIAA Division 2 Volleyball Regionals, Whitewater at Watertown Luther Prep, Oct. 17

 

 

Whitewater statistical leaders

Kills – Alison Heckert 5, Emme Bullis 4

Digs – Bullis 12, Cora Linos 11, Catherine Yang 10

Aces – Yang, Bullis, Heckert and Linos 1

Assists – Linos 12

Service Points – Yang, Payton Hintz, Bullis, Miranda Reynolds, Lorynn Hollingshead, Linos and Casey Skindingsrude 3.

 

Whitewater season statistical leaders

 

Kills – Bullis 267, Hollingshead 199, Heckert 155. Team total – 816.

Aces – Hollingshead 59, Bullis 51, Yang 40, Linos 38. Team total – 231.

Blocks – Reynolds 81, Hintz and Bullis 48, Heckert 36, Linos 28 and Heckert 24. Team total – 154.

Digs – Yang 385, Heckert 240, Bullis 236, Linos 219 and Hollingshead 185. Team total – 1,397.

Assists – Linos 624. Team total – 793.

 

 

 
 

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