Big Foot volleyball one victory away from state berth
The Chiefs have won 35 straight Rock Valley Conference matches and three straight Rock Valley South titles, but have made it past regional play only once in Stelling’s nine years.
None of that will matter if Big Foot wins Saturday night.
The Chiefs swept McFarland, 3-0, on Thursday night in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal match at Lakeside Lutheran. Big Foot plays Richland Center at 7 p.m. Saturday at Edgerton for the sectional title and a berth in next week’s state tournament.
Stelling said nerves and a fired-up McFarland team made things difficult for Big Foot in the semifinal match’s first two games, which the Chiefs won 25-21 and 27-25.
“It was tough tonight,” Stelling said. “McFarland came ready to play, and we struggled a little bit early with our composure and running our offense.
“But our girls worked hard and overcame a lot of stuff. There were a couple of calls that didn’t go our way, but we made smart plays when we had to.”
Big Foot (35-4) jumped out to a 9-5 lead in Game 1, but McFarland (25-10) rallied and tied the game at 18-18. The Chiefs put the game away by scoring seven of the last 10 points.
Game 2 was even closer. McFarland, which never led by more than two points the entire match, battled back from a 15-11 deficit and got even at 17-17. The lead seesawed from there, with the last tie coming at 24-24. The Chiefs took a 26-25 lead with Annie Kunes serving, and won Game 2 when Laura Hanley placed a perfect tip shot over the outstretched arms of two Spartan defenders.
The Chiefs dominated Game 3, jumping out to a 14-5 lead and coasting to the 25-20 win.
Kunes, a University of Texas-San Antonio recruit, led the Chiefs with 11 kills and three blocks. Junior setter Katarina Rotta had 37 assists, while Mackenzie Long had 15 digs.
With top-seeded Richland Center up next, Stelling knows what’s at stake.
“It’s great to get the chance to play Saturday, because these girls have worked so hard to get to this point,” Stelling said. “Our experience and athleticism were the difference tonight, and hopefully, that carries over to Saturday. These girls have played a lot of volleyball but they’re not ready to be done yet.”
BIG FOOT 3, McFARLAND 0
Walworth Big Foot 25 27 25
McFarland 21 25 20
Big Foot: Aces—Meghan Schneider, 3; Sydney Racky, 3. Kills—Annie Kunes, 11. Digs—Mackenzie Long, 15. Blocks—Kunes, 3. Assists—Katarina Rotta, 37.
McFarland: Aces—Courtney Frank, 2. Kills—Danielle Green, 9. Digs—Amanda Sonday, 18. Assists—Michelle Witt, 33.