Brodhead High’s volleyball team got a wake-up call Thursday night.
The top-seeded Cardinals lost the first set of their WIAA Division 2 state semifinal match against fourth-seeded Royall, 33-31.
But like they have done all season long, the resilient Cardinals bounced back in a big way.
With setter Alexis Kammerer running the offense to perfection and Abbie Dix controlling play at the net, Brodhead won the next three games and the match, 3-1. Brodhead (12-3) plays second-seeded and unbeaten Washburn (19-0) in the state title match at 1 p.m. Saturday at Kaukauna High School.
Dix had a match-high 23 kills, and Kammerer was brilliant running the show, finishing with 41 assists and 10 digs.
Kammerer said there was no panic after losing a marathon first set that took nearly 45 minutes.
“We just had to push through, like we’ve done all season,” Kammerer said. “That means keep digging, keep passing well and keep serving well.
“We’ve stayed gritty in every game we’ve played this season because you never know what’s going to happen. We came together as a team, and that’s what makes everything so special.”
Royall survived some shaky serving to win the first set 33-31.
Brodhead fell behind 3-1 in the second set but then scored five straight points to take the lead for good. The Cardinals took advantage of several Panthers unforced errors to go up 19-12 and won the game on another Royall unforced error.
Game 3 was back-and-forth before Brodhead used a 4-0 run to go ahead 17-15. Dix had five kills, a perfectly placed lob shot over the top of two Royall defenders and a block at the net in taking over in Game 3. Her spike on set point at 24-20 put the Cardinals up 2-1.
Game 4 was a carbon copy of Game 3, with the lead seesawing back and forth once again. With Brodhead leading 17-16, Royall dug its own grave with unforced errors on four straight plays that pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 21-16.
Addison Yates’ kill made it 22-16 Cardinals, and yet another unforced error from the Panthers pushed their deficit to 23-16. The match ended with another Yates kill and an unforced error.
Brodhead coach Erin Kammerer said she is no longer surprised by anything her team has accomplished during this alternate fall season.
“One thing that’s so great about this team, and I’ve said it before, is that they’re so good at making in-game adjustments,” coach Kammerer said. “Royall showed us some things we haven’t seen all season long, but we were able to adjust and overcome what was a very talented team we played.
“I never felt like we saw the Brodhead team like we did Tuesday night, but as usual the grittiness was there. That’s what’s so special about this team.”
And now it’s a team that will play for a state title on Saturday.
BRODHEAD 3, ROYALL 1Brodhead 31 25 25 25
Royall 33 16 20 18
Brodhead leaders: Aces—Mckenna Young 3, Abbie Dix 2, Onnikah Oliver 2. Kills—Dix 23, Sabrina Siegel 9. Assists—Alexis Kammerer 41. Digs—Kiarra Moe 15, Oliver 13, Young 12, Dix 11, Kammerer 10. Blocks—Dix 4.