The last time Janesville Parker’s volleyball program won a regional title, rally scoring was not yet in place and Jayda Schober was less than three months old.
On Saturday, the Vikings and their sophomore outside hitter put that cold spell to rest.
Schober led a balanced Parker attack with 12 kills and three aces, and the second-seeded Vikings swept seventh-seeded Monona Grove 25-23, 27-25, 25-18 in a WIAA Division 1 regional final at Parker High. It’s the Vikings first regional championship since Halloween 2003.
“We’ve been talking about this since freshman year,” Parker setter Shay Riley said, referring to her fellow seniors. “First, it was, we’re going to beat Craig. Every year we said that, and then (winning a regional).
“Reaching those goals and not just saying them is amazing.”
Parker will take on sixth-seeded Wilmot in a sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Burlington. The Panthers upset third-seeded Elkhorn in five sets Saturday night. Top-seeded and two-time defending state champion Burlington will face fifth-seeded Fort Atkinson in the other semifinal at 5 p.m.
Riley finished with 47 set assists and spread them out pretty evenly, with seniors Tina Shelton and Rachel Van Beek each putting down 10 kills and sophomore Kylee Skrzypchak adding nine.
The Vikings hit .367 as a team, including .440 for Schober, who was a difference-maker throughout.
“She is just very consistent,” Riley said. “It’s easy to trust her, easy to give her the ball.”
Schober and the Vikings found their rhythm early, including on back-to-back kills that gave them a 14-8 lead and forced a timeout in the first set.
“I like transitioning from right to left side; it helps me figure out my swing,” Schober said. “I’ve been focusing on line all season, and I really used it tonight.”
Monona Grove fought back within one point, at 23-22, but Parker called a timeout and never gave up its lead.
The second set was arguably the most pivotal. It featured five lead changes and a whopping 15 ties, including at 25-25. But Skrzypchak pounded a kill off a jump set from Riley to put Parker up one, and Shelton’s smash through the Silver Eagles block put the Vikings up two sets to none.
“We credit a couple tight matches at the end of the regular season and in the conference tournament, because they really got us ready for this,” Parker coach Andy Kimball said. “Sometimes you can see the panic on players’ faces if you’re struggling. I didn’t see that. They seemed comfortable.”
Parker trailed for much of the early stages in the third set, including falling behind 14-11. But Schober put a ball down for a kill to get back within two and spark a 6-1 run that gave the Vikings a lead they never relinquished. They scored the final six points—two of them on Schober kills, including a blast down the left sideline that ended the match.
“Halfway through the season last year, we were just like, we can’t leave her on JV anymore,” Kimball said of Schober. “She sees herself now playing back row, and honestly she’s one of our better back-row players, too. She’s really come to play this year.”
Carlie Curtis led the Vikings with nine digs and played a strong floor game to feed Riley with clean passes. Shelton also had a pair of blocks.
Parker will attempt to continue rewriting its program history books when it tries to beat Wilmot for a second time this season and advance to a sectional final.
PARKER 3, MONONA GROVE 0
Monona Grove 23 25 18
Janesville Parker 25 27 25
Parker stats: (aces-kills-assists-blocks-digs) Emma Perry 0-0-0-0-4, Kylee Skrzypchak 0-9-0-0-0, Carlie Curtis 0-0-1-0-9, Jayda Schober 3-12-0-1-3, Tina Shelton 1-10-0-2-6, Jenna Gackstatter 1-4-0-0-1, Rachel Van Beek 0-10-0-0-3, Shay Riley 0-3-47-0-6.
Monona Grove leaders: Kills—Jadee Christiansen 9. Blocks—Christiansen 4. Digs—Alyssa Smith 38. Assists—Mady Davis-Troller 17.