By Jared Schmeltzer
Saturday night’s sectional final match against St. Croix Central was the final step in assuring back-to-back state appearances for the Merrill volleyball team. The Bluejays were ready for the challenge and took the match in four sets to get back to the state tournament.
The first set was a battle throughout, with the lead changing sides many times. Merrill was finally able to pull away at the end for a 25-23 win. With the momentum on their side, Merrill was able to take the second set in convincing fashion winning 25-18. Being down 2-0 St. Croix was able to dig deep and come back in the third set and grab a 25-19 win; however it wouldn’t be enough, as the Bluejays took a hard fought fourth set by a score of 25-21.
“There is no other feeling like experiencing that game match point to go to State!” Comments head coach Kris Krug. “We felt going into tonight’s match that we had the experience behind us even though St. Croix Central was coming in with an unblemished record this season.” Coach Krug also had this to say about her team, “As the Seniors have led us all season it was the Juniors that stepped up and had some key plays when we needed it. This team works well together and they proved it through this victory tonight!”
Once again Merrill’s offense was led by senior Morgan Wardall who had 16 kills in the game. Megan Schroder had a huge game, tallying 13 kills. Coach Krug was thrilled with the juniors performance saying, “If there was ever a time for Megan Schroder to shine, it was awesome to have it be tonight!” Coach Krug also had high praise for senior Madi Weix saying, “Madi Weix had a great night with 22 assists, making some quick tempo sets to get their blockers off balance.” Weix was also the only Merrill player to serve 100% in the game in her 11 attempts. The back row was controlled by Maddix Bonnell who totaled 22 digs and Kelsie belfiori with 20.
Check out the Sectional Championship sealing score from Saturday, below!
The Bluejays will begin their run for a state championship on Friday at 4 p.m. as they take on Luxemburg-Casco at the Resch Center in Green Bay. Luxemburg-Casco comes into the game with a season record of 40-8 and are coming off of a 12-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-13 victory over Little Chute in the Chilton Sectional final to secure their first trip to state. Merrill has a record of 32-7 and will be going to state for the tenth time in school history and second year in a row.