Bertagnoli, Craig dominate Madison Memorial
JANESVILLE--A loss last week seemed to leave the Janesville Craig volleyball team in a foul mood.
The Cougars vented their frustrations against Madison Memorial in a Big Eight home match on Tuesday night.
Craig dominated at the net in its most impressive showing of the conference season—a 25-5, 25-15, 25-16 sweep of the Spartans.
“We had been playing great volleyball, but Thursday night at (Madison) La Follette, we kind of had a little slip-up,” Craig coach Blake Budrow said. “We talked about it in practice and today I think sets the tone for the rest of the season.
“They were a little more relaxed.”
The Cougars were coming off a five-set loss to La Follette. They wasted little time putting that effort behind them.
Junior McKenzie Bertagnoli and senior Ali Calkins quickly laid claim to the net, combining for multiple blocks and four kills as Craig cruised to a 25-5 game-one victory.
“We came out ready to play, ready to go hard and go for every ball, and that’s what we did,” said Bertagnoli, who finished with a match-high 11 kills. “We were on and off on Thursday. Tonight, all of us were on, and we just played our hardest.”
Junior Gabrielle Gellar took the serve with Craig leading 17-5 and served out the game.
In the second, Gabby Loveland served a pair of aces early as the Cougars raced out to a 5-0 lead, and Bertagnoli took over from there. She had five of her kills in a 25-15 win.
“Blocking and hitting, she was a beast tonight,” Budrow said. “They had good swings, but we were able to put it back over the net. And even if they got it up, we hit it right back over again. McKenzie just did a super job.”
Craig didn’t let up in the third, either, cruising to a 25-16 win and a sweep that improved its Big Eight record to 4-3. Memorial fell to an identical conference mark.
Craig travels to Middleton—which lost its first conference match on Tuesday to unbeaten Sun Prairie—on Thursday, then closes out league play against Janesville Parker next week leading into the postseason.
Thursday night’s performance left the Cougars feeling like the sky could be the limit if they can consistently play this well.
“I think we’re ready to play and ready for anyone,” Bertagnoli said. “We have lots of potential.”
JANESVILLE CRAIG 3, MADISON MEMORIAL 0
Memorial 5 15 16
Craig 25 25 25
Craig statistics (aces-kills-assists): Melanie Tinker, 1-0-12; Haleigh Salemi, 1-0-0; Kayley Hackett, 0-0-17; Kourtney Kell, 0-6-0; Gabrielle Geller, 1-0-0; Ali Calkins, 0-10-0; Gabby Loveland, 3-0-0; Haley Updike, 1-0-0; Amand Trapp, 1-0-0; Aly Raymond, 0-4-0; McKenzie Bertagnoli, 0-11-0; Jenna Brandt, 0-2-2; Annie Schumacher, 0-2-0; Mrogan Hulen, 0-1-0.