Craig shocks Sun Prairie to win Big Eight VB tourney
JANESVILLE--Big Eight champs!
That's how the regular season ended Saturday for Janesville Craig's girls volleyball team.
The Cougars upset dual-meet co-champion Sun Prairie in the championship match to win the Big Eight Tournament title. Craig won by scores of 25-22, 19-25 and 16-14.
Craig went 3-1 in pool play Saturday, losing only to Sun Prairie, and then beat Verona in the semifinals and the Cardinals in the championship. The conference tournament title was the first in program history.
Craig coach Blake Budrow said his team was not intimidated by the taller and favored Cardinals, who had beaten the Cougars twice already this season, including 3-0 in the conference dual meet.
"We're playing at the highest level as a team that we have all season," Budrow said. "We knew coming it that Sun Prairie had two excellent outside hitters, so we made some adjustments that worked well in the championship match.
Deja Calvin really stepped up her game today for us and played very consistently and that opened up some other things for us offensively. Skylar Flood was lights out and that allowed Lily to do her quick stuff. But just a great overall team effort."
Craig won Game 1 against Sun Prairie in the title match thanks to an early 12-6 lead. The Cougars maintained the lead and eventually won on Amanda Carlson's spike. Carlson led the Cougars on the day with 43 kills.
Sun Prairie led for most of Game 2 to force the tiebreaker.
In Game 3, Craig trailed 10-7 but stormed back behind a Calvin kill and an unforced Sun Prairie error. The lead see-sawed back and forth until Craig won the game on back-to-back Sun Prairie unforced errors.
Taylor Salmon had 144 assists on the day for Craig, while Stockheimer had 37 kills and Calvin added 25.
Craig opens up WIAA Division 1 regional play Thursday when it hosts Elkhorn.
"Hopefully, we can build off of today," Budrow said. "Now is the time you want to be playing your best volleyball and we are.
"I think it's a wide-open sectional. It's one match at a time and that starts Thursday."
Janesville Parker finished 2-3 at the conference tournament Saturday. The Vikings beat Middleton and Madison East. Reave Myszewski had 26 kills for Parker on the day, while Jacy Benway finished with five aces, six kills and 81 assists.
CRAIG 2, SUN PRAIRIE 1
Sun Prairie 22 25 14
Janesville Craig 25 19 16
Craig six-match totals (aces, kills assists)--Grace Carlson 0-1-1; Jessica Filter 3-0-0; Taylor Morgan 0-1-0; Skylar Flood 3-1-0; Lily Stockheimer 10-37-0; Arielle Henkel 0-27-2; Deja Calvin 0-25-0; Lauren Glissendorf 0-0-1; Taylor Salmon 5-7-144; Teagan Zelle 0-6-1; Kennedy Cox 0-0-0; Amanda Carlson 8-43-0; Rachel Bonham 0-0-0; Maddy Grund 1-1-0.
Parker five-match totals (aces, kills assists)--Mackenzie Forrest 0-1-4; Jacy Benway 5-6-81; Rachel Van Beek 0-3-0; Reave Myszewski 4-26-1; Bri Garey 2-7-0; Mirnaly Verquilla 0-9-0; Julianna Getka 4-21-0; Jordyn Nenno 0-2-0; Sydney Peterson 3-12-0; Alissa Anderson 4-3-0.