The Waterloo High School volleyball team took its first two steps toward returning to the WIAA state tournament. With 3-0 wins over Montello and Johnson Creek the Pirates captured the Division 3 regional crown.
Top-seeded Waterloo, which last played at state in 2017, earned wins of 25-17, 25-12 and 25-13 over fourth-seeded Johnson Creek Saturday night at WHS.
“I thought we were much more efficient tonight than our match on Thursday and overall our focus and energy were higher. We needed that as we knew coming in that Johnson Creek had a great record with some quality wins,” said Waterloo head coach Christy Mosher.
Juniors Brooke Mosher and Joslyn Wolff were a formidable 1-2 punch that the Bluejays simply could not contain. Mosher, a University of Illinois recruit, led the Pirates with 19 kills and five aces while adding 14 assists, nine digs and two blocks. Meanwhile, Wolff had team-highs in assists (22) and blocks (3) while chipping in 11 kills and four service aces.
“I thought Brooke Mosher and Joslyn Wolff we’re bringing the heat offensively — combining for 30 kills and nine aces — and also did a great job running the offense. Sydney Schonhoff was also swinging hard with what I think was her best hit all season in the second set,” said coach Mosher.
Sophomore Michaele Riege led the way with 15 digs and added four aces.
The Pirates showcased their depth with senior Sydney Schonhoff and freshman Rylee Duessler combining for eight kills, while freshman Sophia Schneider made 12 digs.
Duessler also had 11 digs while Schonhoff had a pair of blocks.
“Much of the credit goes to our primary passers as I thought they passed extremely well in serve receive with Michaela Riege in particular putting up perfect passes all match. Riege, Rylee Duessler and Sophia Schneider were all scrappy in the backcourt putting up double digit dig numbers.” coach Mosher said. “Overall, it was a total team effort with contributions from all 15 girls. We will hit practice hard this week as we still have some areas to improve on, but I liked the effort tonight and look to build on that momentum.”
The Pirates were challenged early but eventually rolled by eighth-seeded Montello.
Brooke Mosher had 16 kills as second-ranked Waterloo swept Montello, 25-21, 25-12, 25-3, in a WIAA Division 3 regional volleyball semifinal on Oct. 24.
Mosher added nine aces, six assists and two blocks. Wolff had five kills, eight digs and 14 assists. Riege led in digs with 15 and served four aces. Schneider had eight digs and added four aces.
“It was nice to get our first tournament win under our belts,” coach Mosher said. “We came out making a few too many unforced errors but were able to right the ship and finish strong the rest of the match. Credit to Montello for serving deep and getting some nice touches on our pins.
“We really heated up late in the set and executed our offense much better. Our serve-receive steadied and we ended the first set with the momentum. Michaela and Joslyn had a couple nice serving runs in the second and Sophia and Brooke went on extended runs in the third. We will need to control our side of the net better in our next match, but overall I thought it was good to get those first game jitters out and for our younger players to know what that playoff atmosphere feels like.”
Waterloo (26-10) will host No. 2 seeded Laconia in Thursday’s sectional semifinal.
The winner advances to Saturday’s sectional final at Dodgeland High School in Juneau . Both sectional game times are 7 p.m.
Kevin Wilson of the Watertown Daily Times contributed to this story.