Reaching the state title game in the WIAA Division 2 tournament was a major accomplishment for the McFarland High School volleyball team, which won 30 matches in a row and took home the silver ball trophy after falling to Luxemburg-Casco at Green Bay’s Resch Center.
Three Spartans were recognized for their outstanding play during the regular season as they were named to the All-Rock Valley Conference first team.
Junior middle blocker Katie Hildebrandt was one of the three honored after ranking third on the team with 259 kills, while coming up with 47 aces and 75 digs. Hildebrandt’s shining moment came in McFarland’s Oct. 1 conference match against East Troy when she served eight points in a row to give the Spartans a big 3-1 victory over the Trojans.
Hildebrandt joined two seniors on the first team, including setter Lizzy Fortune, who pounded 80 service aces and made 315 digs and a team-leading 925 assists.Libero Erin Eggers earned first-team honors with 622 digs, 41 aces and 55 assists. Fortune and Eggers provided strong leadership and inspiration during the deep postseason run, and their presence will be missed when the team reconvenes next fall.
Sophomore Avery Pennekamp was named to the all-conference second team after leading the team with 347 kills and coming through with 106 digs as outside hitter. McFarland also had two players named to the honorable mention squad. Junior Nina Crull had 287 kills, 57 aces and 272 digs, and senior Peyton Witt ended the season with 46 aces and 220 digs.
Five seniors will graduate from this year’s team, including Fortune, Eggers, Witt, Anna Nachreiner and Claire Johnson. Aside from Hildebrandt, Crull and Pennekamp, other key returnees in 2020 will include Gwen Crull, who managed 55 kills and 14 digs in 66 sets as a freshman, sophomore Maddy Fortune, who contributed 252 digs and sophomore Hannah Rounds, who made 128 kills.