Having fun yet? Craig volleyball keeps momentum rolling
JANESVILLE--Janesville Craig junior Lily Stockheimer broke out in song.
Setter Taylor Salmon spent a few moments laughing and asking her teammates to set her up for a rare spike.
And the rest of the Cougars were all smiles Thursday night.
Coming off winning the Big Eight Conference Tournament title over the weekend, they kept postseason momentum rolling. The No. 4-seeded Cougars swept 13th-seeded Elkhorn 25-11, 25-20, 25-14 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal match at Craig.
The Cougars will host 12th-seeded Kenosha Tremper, which upset fifth-seeded Kenosha Indian Trail in four sets, in a regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re feeling pretty good, but we know that we have to keep playing that way,” said Salmon, who dished out 30 assists in the victory. “We play better when we play loose. Lily was really loose tonight and out there singing.
“We just try to keep each other having fun.”
Craig had a blast in its opening game against the Elks. Behind four early kills from junior Amanda Carlson—who finished with a match-best 11 of them—the Cougars raced out to a 12-2 lead and never looked back.
“I know they’re still really excited with how we played on Saturday,” Craig coach Blake Budrow said. “I thought we could’ve cleaned up our passing a little bit, but everybody really contributed.”
The Cougars sputtered for a few brief moments to start the second game, falling behind 6-1 and 10-6. But they went on a 13-2 run at that point to give Craig a 19-12 lead.
Junior Skylar Flood served five straight points in one stretch during that run, including notching one of her two aces. Craig served well all match and finished with 11 aces as a team, including a team-best three from Salmon.
Elkhorn got back within four points three different times but never got closer.
In the third game, the Cougars led just 8-6 but went on a 9-3 run that was fueled by a pair of blocks form senior Deja Calvin, a block from Stockheimer and an ace from sophomore Maddy Grund.
Salmon continued spreading the sets around in the third. Stockheimer finished with nine kills, and Calvin and Arielle Henkel each had five in the match.
“When everybody is on, that’s really fun because I can just spread it around even more,” Salmon said. “This is just a great feeling. We have so much fun at practice, and it’s just carrying over into games.”
CRAIG 3, ELKHORN 0
Elkhorn 11 20 14
Janesville Craig 25 25 25
Craig stats (aces-kills-assists)—Jessica Filter 2-0-0, Skylar Flood 2-0-0, Lily Stockheimer 0-9-1, Arielle Henkel 0-5-0, Deja Calvin 0-5-0, Lauren Glissendorf 1-1-3, Taylor Salmon 3-3-30, Amanda Carlson 1-11-0, Maddy Grund 2-0-0.
Elkhorn Leaders: Kills—Julia Heck 4, Kate Passler 4. Assists—Adrienne Bain 16. Digs—Passler 11. Aces—Maddy Keller 1. Blocks—Morgan Hunter 1.