Witt-Birn earns big CWC-East volleyball win over Bonduel

Chargers rally late to claim 5th set
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School volleyball team is seeking a fourth consecutive Central Wisconsin Conference-East Division title this fall.

The Chargers moved a step closer to achieving that goal after pulling off a 25-19, 23-25, 25-16, 16-25, 15-13 win over Bonduel on Sept. 13 in Bonduel.

Things looked bleak for the Chargers in the fifth set after falling behind 7-2, but the visitors rattled off seven straight points to pull ahead. The teams were tied at 10 when Witt-Birn won three straight points, and the team was able to hold off Bonduel late to claim the set.

“We stuck together as a team and we really believed in ourselves in the end,” said Witt-Birn’s Reese Rogowski. “We didn’t quit the whole time so that really shows how we finished it out strong.”

In the deciding fifth set, the Chargers leaned on Rogowski and London Metropulos.

Metropulos delivered a kill to start the Chargers’ seven-point run. Rogowski then delivered multiple kills as Metropulos provided strong serving, including an ace.

Rogowski added two more kills before Camryn Miller served an ace to help the Chargers pull ahead for good. Metropulos ended the match and a big match with a kill.

”I honestly just think that it was the coverage. We had some really good hits off the outside from Reese Rogowski and I think our passing was a lot better,” said Metropulos on how the team came back in the fifth set. “We kind of all came together as a team at the end.”

The back-and-forth battle between the two conference foes began right at the start of the match.

Bonduel got off to a quick 4-0 lead behind strong serving from Hailee Thompson before Witt-Birn won the next eight points as Lilly Betry served. Witt-Birn led 11-7 and looked to be in control, but Bonduel went on a 6-0 run as Abby Stoltenow served.

The teams traded points for awhile before Metropulos helped the Chargers take control. She delivered three kills on a 6-1 spurt from the visitors, and Rogowski soon ended the first set with a kill.

Set two saw Witt-Birn leading in the early going. The Chargers were up 13-9, but the Bears scored six of the next eight points to tie things up. After helping Bonduel get back in the set, Audrey Weier then gave the hosts the lead with a kill.

The teams were neck and neck in the final few points of the set, being tied at 20, 21 and 23. After a Rogowski kill tied things at 23, a Witt-Birn attack landed just out of bounds, and a Bonduel ace secured the set win.

“We knew that they had two really good hitters (Rogowski and Metropulos), so we worked a lot in practice on coverage, so we were prepared for their hitting because that was their powerful point,” said Weier. “I think we did really good with that.”

The third set saw Witt-Birn jump out to an early 6-1 lead. A couple Metropulos kills and an ace from Allison Linke bumped the lead up to 10, 12-2.

Bonduel battled hard to get back within three points on a couple different occasions, but a couple more Metropulos kills and a run of three straight aces from Betry helped the Chargers pull away.

The fourth set was a much tighter battle, with neither team ahead by more than two until Bonduel went on a 5-1 run to go ahead 12-8. Weier and Nakiyah Henning had kills on the run for the Bears.

The Bears held the lead the rest of the set, and finished it off with a 5-1 run. Weier and Henning scored multiple points to help the hosts finish off the set.

Bonduel pulled ahead in the fifth set after winning a couple long volleys and taking advantage of a couple Witt-Birn errors and some strong serving from Stoltenow. Witt-Birn called timeout trailing 7-2 and dug deep to keep their chances of winning a conference title outright in reach.

Rogowski said the team came into the match knowing Bonduel would be one of the biggest obstacles facing the team on its quest to win another CWC-East title, and that helped the team dig deep.

“It shows that we can rally with a lot of teams and never give up, even when we’re not doing so hot,” said Rogowski.

“It was really big,” said Metropulos of the conference win, adding that tight matches like the one against Bonduel are her favorite to play in and help the team get closer. “We take every single conference game super seriously. This year it’ll be four years as conference champs and we really want that, it’d be awesome for all our seniors, so we’re really fighting super hard for it.”

Despite coming up short in the match, Bonduel was focused on learning from the match instead of dwelling on it.

Weier noted the team had several leads in the contest, only to see Witt-Birn rally off several straight points.

“It’s really all mental, mental blocks, getting rid of that. Having one good play and holding on to that,” said Weier on how the team can limit big runs from opponents. “Putting the first ball down and not giving them free balls, really trying to contain them.”


More photos from the match can be found on the NEW Media Inc. Sports Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NewMediaIncSports).