Undefeated East Troy volleyball team makes it to state final
GREEN BAY—Forgive the East Troy Trojans if they needed a few minutes to settle in at the WIAA state volleyball tournament.
No team from their program had been here since 1987.
By the time the Trojans left the Resch Center Friday night, however, they appeared right at home. They were resilient at the net, both offensively and defensively, in scoring a sweep over Oconto Falls, 25-21, 25-14, 25-15, in a Division 2 state semifinal match.
East Troy improved to 43-0 and will play for its first state title against Madison Edgewood today.
“We're used to playing on sport courts, and playing in front of a big crowd, we're not really used to that,” East Troy senior captain Brittney Jakscht said. “Once we figured it out, everything was clicking.”
The Trojans actually trailed 9-5 and 18-14 in the first set as they got used to a Panthers team that sets the ball higher than many teams.
East Troy scored four straight points out of a timeout to tie the game, and Alyssa Scuric put her team ahead for good with back-to-back aces.
“That's as high a ball as we will block against all year,” East Troy coach Jeremy Weis said. “As soon as they figured out their timing and got rid of a little bit of the nerves—all of a sudden, we showed everybody what we're made of.”
The second and third sets were never in doubt.
In fact, the Trojans opened the third on an 11-0 run with senior Myranda Dallas serving.
“I just went back there and did what I had to do and tried to stay calm,” said Dallas, who also led the team with eight kills. “I'm really excited (to play for a gold ball). I think if we just come in playing like it's a normal game, it's going to be fun.”
Jakscht spread the wealth around offensively. She dished out 22 assists, and four of her teammates had at least a half-dozen kills.
“It's so great (to have options),” Jakscht said. “Everybody just steps up when they need to. I've never experienced anything different, but I still appreciate it.”
Jakscht isn't kidding.
Much of this Trojans group began playing volleyball in earnest when Weis formed a club team, the East Troy Heat, in 2007. At that point, he said, many of the players couldn't even hit the ball over the net.
“We all kind of joined just on a whim,” Dallas said. “We were all not very good. But when we got in our first tournaments, we started to click.
“Our first (club) tournament, we thought we were going to be horrible, and we ended up taking third. But the biggest one was when we went to nationals when we were 13, and we took third at nationals.
“Now it's like we're a family.”
The goal all along the way was to help high school volleyball at the high school level, and now East Troy is on the verge of a perfect season and its first gold ball.
“When I first came in here, we couldn't dig a ball,” Weis said. “(It's great) to see this come full circle, and hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to finish the journey that we started.”
EAST TROY 3, OCONTO FALLS 0