Young Hatchet spikers fall in D2 final four
The Hatchet volleyball team members earned their way to last weekend’s state tournament with play beyond their years.
But despite being just one of four D2 teams at state, they found a new level of play there.
Kettle Moraine Lutheran eliminated Tomahawk 25-18, 25-15, 25-21 before going on to capture the state title over Edgewood in a 3-1 match.
“I think our inexperience showed a little bit,” THS coach Jerry Angle said. “The good thing for us is we gained a lot of experience.
“It was a fun run. It was a matter of pushing through once the playoffs started, and being good when they needed to be good.”
Kettle Moraine featured seven seniors, while the ultra-young Hatchets don’t have a single one. They mix sophomores and freshmen in with two junior starters.
“The kids had a great season,” Angle said. “No one expected us to do what we did. To go to state four years in a row is a super accomplishment.
“About halfway through the season they started to come together. I thought they showed a lot of experience for as young as they are. They showed a lot of intensity, which is what we needed. Mentally we were pretty sound.”
All of which bodes well for the future after a 35-11 season.
“You never know,” Angle said. “It’s year-to-year. Yeah, we’ll have a lot of players back, but sometimes you have to have the absence of bad luck and we did this year. We’ll still be somewhat young. The potential is there, but potential has to become reality.”
Tomahawk trailed the Chargers just 12-10 in the second game, but KML quickly boosted it to 24-14. In the third game, the Hatchets surged ahead early, getting to 11-4 and 13-7 before the Chargers raced back.
They knotted it at 14-14, although neither team could gain more than a two-point edge as the game see-sawed. Tomahawk went up 21-20 on a KLM error after three Anna Nyberg spikes in four points. But Kettle Moraine would run off five straight to close it out, sandwiching three THS miscues between two smashes.
“Kettle Moraine was better than us,” Angle said. “They were quicker than us and had more experience. For three-quarters of the match we competed with them, but then we would give up 4-5 quick points, and you just can’t do that. You’ve got to go side-out, side-out.
“We got a big lead in the third game, but they pecked away and pecked away. I don’t think we passed as well as we have in the past. They picked up a lot of digs on us and worked well in transition. They kept the pressure on us.
“Obviously, they’re very good. They beat the (defending) state champs (Catholic Memorial) at their place (in the sectional final), so you know they’re mentally tough.”
Memorial knocked off Tomahawk in last year’s finals by a 3-0 tally.
Angle thought three players stood out for THS.
“(Sophomore) Anna had a good match, hitting-wise,” he said. “I thought Becca (Doughty) did a good job of running the team, especially being a freshman. (Junior) Alex DuPlayee is real steady for us. She made good decisions and passed well.”
State semi-final contributions came from: Anna Nyberg (13 kills, 7 digs); Becca Doughty (17 assists, 7 d); Alex DuPlayee (5 k, 16 d); Amanda Schneider (3 aces, 5 d); Hanna Meyer (6 d); Emily Schneider (5 k); and Madeline Garrison (3 d).
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