Hitting errors doom Craig in regional volleyball
JANESVILLE--The bus carrying Waterford High’s girls volleyball team to Janesville Craig for Thursday night’s Division 1 regional opener was late.
The Wolverines compounded the problem by forgetting to show up for the first game—losing 25-18.
Unfortunately for Craig, the rest of the match belonged to the tardy visitors.
The 12th-seeded Wolverines stormed back for a 3-1 win and a berth in Saturday’s regional final match against Kenosha Tremper. Waterford won 18-25, 25-21, 25-18 and 25-22. Fifth-seeded Craig finished the season 29-15.
Unforced errors and a poor hitting percentage doomed Craig. The Cougars’ hitting percentage was only .168 as they played on their heels the last three games instead of on the attack.
“Waterford played great tonight,” Craig coach Blake Budrow said. “They blocked us really well, and that flustered us. We didn’t make the adjustments, and they did.
“Every time we seemed to get a little momentum, we missed a serve or had another unforced error. You just can’t continue to do that at this point of the season.”
Craig rolled in the first game as it jumped out to 10-3 lead. The Cougars kept the lead at seven or eight throughout before Aly Raymond’s spike ended the game at 25-18.
Waterford trailed 19-18 in game two but rallied with a 7-2 run. Craig trailed 24-21 and another Cougar unforced error at game-point tied the match at 1-1.
The Wolverines, behind four-year starter Rebekah Raebel’s strong play at the net, controlled games three and four. Waterford built a 19-11 lead in game three and won it at 25-18 on Mikaela Grunze’s spike.
Sam Dawes scored on four straight serves in game four to give Waterford a commanding 20-13 lead. Craig clawed back and eventually cut the margin to 24-22, but the Cougars’ final unforced error of the match ended things.
“We started slow, no doubt about it,” Waterford coach Kelli Trautmann said. “But we challenged the girls after that, and they really responded.
“It comes down to who wants it more. It doesn’t matter what seed you are. It matters who wants it more, and tonight, we did.”
Raymond had 10 kills to lead the Cougars, while Kayley Hackett finished with 32 assists.
WATERFORD 3, CRAIG 1
Waterford 18 25 25 25
Janesville Craig 25 21 18 22
Leaders: Aces—Sam Dawes (W) 2, Haleigh Salemi (JC) 2, Kayley Hackett (JC) 2, Aly Raymond (JC) 2, Jenna Brandt (JC) 2. Kills—Madison Blair (W) 15, Raymond (JC) 10. Digs—Mikaela Grunze (W) 7. Assists—Logan Klein (W) 33, Hackett (JC) 32.