Loss in five-game match to top-seeded Plymouth ends Hawks’ regional surge
Close. Oh, so close.BATTLES AT THE NET were common sights when the Port Washington and Grafton volleyball teams squared off in a regional match last week. Gabby Dreskovic went up for a block against Port’s Jessie Brooks. Photos by Sam Arendt
The Grafton volleyball team came within a whisker of winning a WIAA Division 2 regional championship last Saturday before falling to host Plymouth in a five-game match.
The No. 3-seeded Black Hawks lost, 25-20, 23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-11, to the top-seeded Panthers, a tri-champion of the Eastern Wisconsin Conference.
“Talk about a heartbreaker, man. It was a good match, though,” said Grafton coach Jarrod Luedtke, whose team won two matches to reach the regional final.
Strong front-row play sparked the Hawks. Kimmi Schacht led the way with 15 kills and six blocks, and junior Sammy Gosewehr had 12 kills.
Also for Grafton, Dani Carlson had 31 assists and Charlotte Weaver had five digs.
“That was the best they played all year,” Luedtke said. “Sammy was unstoppable in the middle. Kimmi on the outside probably had her best match.”
Grafton ran a 5-1 offense directed by Carlson, who “did a fabulous job,” Luedtke said.
Although the Hawks came out a bit overanxious, they settled down and won two of the first three games in the best-of-five match.
“The first game we were a little nervous, so they jumped on us right away,” Luedtke said.
The second game was close all the way before Grafton pulled it out. The Hawks build a big lead in the third game but let Plymouth back into it before they emerged on top.
In the fourth game, the Hawks had another lead but let it slip away as their playoff inexperience showed, Luedtke said.
In the deciding game, Grafton fell behind early and couldn’t rally.
Luedtke said his team had to play its best to stay with Plymouth, and it did.
“The sad part is we weren’t done peaking,” he added. “We were getting better every time we got on the court.”
The match was a classic, according to Luedtke.
“Both teams deserved to win. They’ve got a real good team up in Plymouth,” he said.
Grafton 3, Port Washington 1
The Hawks advanced to the regional championship with a hard-fought semifinal win over the host Pirates on Oct. 20.
Grafton rallied to prevail in a battle of North Shore Conference rivals, 17-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-16.
Schacht led the Hawks with seven kills, and Gosewehr and Amanda Hunt each had six.
Carlson had 20 assists, Carrie Herian had seven digs and Jenna Brotz served three aces.
“Port was really emotional coming in. It was on their court. They came out just on fire,” Luedtke said.
“They would play defense — we hit it at them, and they kept defending.”
But Grafton was able to turn the match in its favor.
“Once we got on top of them, we really started doing well,” said Luedtke, who singled out Weaver, Amanda Hunt and Gabby Dreskovic, who “probably played their best matches of the year.”
Leading No. 2-seeded Port were Mikayla Hilton with 11 kills, Caity Tydrick with 17 assists and Alex Stammer with 27 digs.
Abbey Schueller had four blocks for the Pirates, who had a first-round bye in the regional.
The win gave the Hawks some revenge. Port had defeated Grafton in four games Oct. 11 and had a better record in conference matches, 3-5 to 1-7.
Grafton 3, Kiel 1
The host Hawks had little trouble scoring a regional quarterfinal victory Oct. 18.
Despite a tough second game, Grafton emerged on top, 25-18, 28-30, 25-7, 25-20.
Local teams ousted early in Division 3
The Cedar Grove-Belgium and Ozaukee volleyball teams were eliminated from the Division 3 playoffs with first-round losses Oct. 18.
Cedar Grove-Belgium managed to win one game but fell to host Brookfield Academy, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21, 26-24.
Ozaukee was swept by host Whitefish Bay Dominican, 25-14, 25-18, 25-16.