Johnson powers Brodhead in sweep of Deerfield
BRODHEAD--After weeks of punching above its weight class, the Brodhead volleyball team finally faced off with an opponent more its size Tuesday night.
The result was a commanding sweep, 25-18, 25-8, 25-13, of visiting Deerfield in a WIAA Division 3 regional quarterfinal match.
Fourth-seeded Brodhead slumped into its playoff opener with a 3-6 record in October, partially the product of playing a schedule against the likes of Kenosha Indian Trail, Janesville Parker, and Elkhorn, among other Division 1 and 2 schools.
So can the Cardinals make a deep postseason run now that they're back up against Division 3 opponents?
Abbey Johnson thinks so.
"If we can keep the tempo fast, I think we can be very successful," the do-it-all junior said after collecting 18 assists, 14 digs, five kills, three aces and two blocks against the Demons.
"We served tough and our passes were (great), they came off the setter's hands great, our tempo was great, and it was all working as a machine."
Johnson entered Tuesday's match as Brodhead's season leader in kills, aces, digs and assists, and seemed to be everywhere against 13th-seeded Deerfield. Last year's Rock Valley South Conference player of the year, she never came off the floor and helped re-energize the Cardinals during the few stretches when Deerfield tried to swing the momentum.
"It's definitely a team sport, I just to do my best to help our team succeed," Johnson said.
Next up for Brodhead (22-16) is a regional semifinal Thursday at home against fifth-seeded Darlington, which swept Orfordville Parkview in its playoff opener Tuesday. The Cardinals haven't won two matches in the same postseason since 2013, when they advanced all the way to a Division 3 state semifinal.
Deerfield (7-22) watched a 3-0 lead dissolve Tuesday when Brodhead scored six straight points early in the first set. With the score tied 10-10, Johnson tipped a ball over two Demon blockers, and the Cardinals went on an 11-3 run to pull away before kills by Chandra Clark and Makenzi Harnish ended the set.
The Cardinals carried that momentum into the second set, never trailing after Johnson's ace. Katie Goecks hammered an attack into the middle of the Demon defense, erasing a 2-0 deficit in the third set, and Brodhead cruised to the sweep in just over an hour.
Clark led all players with 12 kills and added eight assists, and Goecks had seven kills. Senior Erin Nyhus had five of Brodhead's 12 aces.
Calli Schindler and Maria Higgins led Deerfield with two kills apiece.
BRODHEAD 3, DEERFIELD 0
Deerfield 18 8 13
Brodhead 25 25 25
Leaders: Aces--Erin Nyhus (B) 5, Abbey Johnson (B) 3, Olivia Tatlock (D) 3. Kills--Chandra Clark (B) 12, Calli Schindler (D) 2, Maria Higgins (D) 2. Assists--Johnson (B) 18, Tatlock (D) 2, Schindler (D) 2. Digs--Johnson (B) 14, Higgins (D) 3. Blocks--Goecks (B) 2, Johnson (B) 2, Maren Jensen (D) 1, Schindler (D) 1.
Last updated: 10:22 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017