Big Foot headed to state volleyball tourney
Taller teams tend to dominate around the net.
Walworth Big Foot High School’s girls team never got that memo.
Despite not having a player 6-foot or taller in the rotation, the Chiefs punched their ticket to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament Saturday night.
Big Foot used an abundance of athleticism and experience to take apart Richland Center, 3-0, in the title match of the Edgerton Sectional.
The Chiefs play two-time defending champion Waukesha Catholic Memorial in a state semifinal match Friday at the Resch Center in Green Bay. Catholic Memorial defeated Big Foot, 2-1, in a tournament earlier this season.
Led by seniors Annie Kunes and Meghan Schneider, along with junior Sydney Racky, the Chiefs (36-4) controlled play around the night against the Hornets. Big Foot, behind an 8-0 run sparked by the serving of Mackenzie Long, erased an 8-7 deficit in game one and coasted to a 25-16 win.
“They had no one to defend Meghan in the middle,” Big Foot coach Jen Stelling said. “And when they tried to double her, Annie or Sydney stepped up and made plays.
“We’re a defensive team, and that was important tonight because they (Richland Center) battled back, and that’s when our back row stepped up and played well.”
Game 2 was a see-saw affair. Big Foot raced to a 10-3 lead, but Richland Center (31-8) stormed back, taking 24-23 and 25-24 leads, only to see Big Foot tie it. The Chiefs forged ahead 27-26 and won Game 2 on a perfect backset to Schneider, who blasted a shot past two blockers at the net.
The Hornets were in control early in Game 3, building an 11-6 lead. The Chiefs rallied behind sophomore libero Mackenzie Long and junior setter Katarina Rotta. Big Foot tied the game at 13-13 before taking the lead for good at 14-13 on an unforced error by Richland Center.
Schneider eventually sealed the Hornets fate with a blistering blast at 24-22 that sent the Chiefs to the school’s first state tournament berth.
Racky, Schneider and Kunes each finished with 11 kills, while Rotta had 41 assists. Long had a match-high 16 digs and three aces as the Chiefs got solid contributions from everyone in Stelling’s rotation.
Kunes, who is a four-year varsity player and University of Texas-San Antonio recruit, said making it to state is only step one.
“Now that we’re there, we’re definitely ready to go further,” Kunes said. “That’s why we’ve played so much volleyball, so that we could get to state. This is awesome.”
BIG FOOT 3, RICHLAND CENTER 0
Walworth Big Foot 25 28 25
Richland Center 16 26 22
Big Foot leaders: Aces—Mackenzie Long, 3. Kills—Meghan Schneider 11, Annie Kunes 11, Sydney Racky 11. Digs—Long, 16. Blocks—Schneider, 5. Assists—Katarina Rotta, 41.