Badger South volleyball: Goslings rally, beat Oregon in four
It had to happen eventually.
A Badger South opponent finally took a set off of Watertown’s volleyball team.
Oregon entered Tuesday’s match with the Goslings at WHS as the only other unbeaten team in the conference, and the crafty and athletic Panthers kept the reigning champs off balance and took a six-point victory in the first set.
The reigning league champs lost just one set in their first season in the Badger South a year ago and were perfect in league play in 2018 coming into this match.
“We all knew that wasn’t us, and we turned it around right away and we played a lot better,” Watertown senior libero Sheridan Dettmann said.
“We stopped making silly errors and we started talking and had more energy. When we have energy, we play really well.”
Watertown battled its way through a tough second set to even the match at 1-1, then owned the next two sets for a 19-25, 25-20, 25-9, 25-15 victory.
“We didn’t respond quickly enough, and it resulted in us losing a set, but we came back and the team we know came back and took care of it in the next three,” Watertown volleyball coach Carrie Hein said.
“We just had a few of our girls that were more off than usual in that first set and they kept us on our toes and just that delayed reaction of a start resulted in that. We woke up, came together and were able to execute in the next three.”
Senior middle and outside hitter Brianne Korducki (11 kills) and junior outside hitter Samantha Gray (nine kills) came up with the
critical swings to push Watertown (19-4, 4-0 in conference) over the top in a back and forth second set.
With the score tied at 20-20, Gray scored twice on the attack to put the Goslings in front for good. Oregon (9-2, 3-1 in conference) surrendered the set from there with a net violation and two hitting errors.
In the third set, Watertown finally got into a rhythm and started to hit with pace. The Goslings led 10-7 and closed the set with a 15-2 run.
Senior outside hitter Allie Stair (12 kills, 18 digs, three blocks) and Gray led the charge in that set. Stair was able to get more on her swing once the Goslings were in system, and Gray mixed it up with hard swings through the blocks or tips.
Gray showed this kind of potential last season. Stair got some swings last season but has fully emerged as a senior.
“I think I had a good club season and a good coach helped me get better with that — just a lot of practice over the last season,” Stair said.
“We had a slow start tonight, but we just put our mind to it and got going.
“I think we’re really strong at hitting. We choose our spots wisely. You’ve got to watch where it’s open and your (teammates) help you out with that.”
Senior defensive specialist Payton Zubke (six aces) and junior defensive specialist each had long service runs to help Watertown pull away in the third set.
“We like to have multiple tools like that,” Hein said. “Payton passed really well tonight, which was huge, especially when at times our passing was a struggle, she was an anchor in that sense.
“Once our hitters started to turn it on, it was hard for them to focus on one of our hitters because we’re coming from all angles.
“Allie and Sam, once they got warmed up, they also were some really solid player for us and helped us pull through.
“Because we had such a slow start, we kind of had to claw our way back out. The girls did a good job. They showed they had the heart, they wanted it more and showed the drive and were able to execute the next three sets.”
Dettmann led the team in digs with 25. Junior Dani Weissenrieder added 15. Senior middle Ashley Stas led in blocks with four.
Junior setter Isabelle Schauer put up 37 assists, but also was matchup nightmare with her blocking and those left-handed putaways at the net.
It’s a luxury for a defense to have a setter that versatile at the net.
“It’s so helpful,” Dettmann said. “Izzy, she can do everything. It’s so helpful for us and even if we have a tight set or a set that’s off the net, she’ll put it in a good spot for us.”
Senior outside hitter Leah Rogers had 10 kills and 16 digs and senior setter Erin Flanagan had 21 assists to lead Oregon.
Watertown hosts an invitational on Saturday.
JV wins, JV2 falls: Watertown’s junior varsity won 25-17, 25-16, 25-11. Watertown’s JV2 team lost 18-25, 20-25, 25-17.