Madison Edgewood had not been swept in three sets all season, and entered the postseason ranked No. 6 in Division 2 in the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association Poll.
The Crusaders’ accomplished regular season didn’t matter to Sauk Prairie, as the Eagles went into Earl J. Wilke Gymnasium on Thursday, Oct. 24, and defeated Edgewood 25-21, 25-22, 25-18 in the D2 regional semifinals.
“We haven’t had a ton of matches where we’ve been challenged a lot, and we’ve competed in every match,” Edgewood coach Eliza Zwettler said. “I thought we’d find our game at some point, but it just never happened.”
The Crusaders earned a 3 seed in the Division 2 East Troy Sectional after finishing second in the Badger South Conference and second at the conference tournament.
Edgewood defeated Evansville 25-15, 25-6, 25-6 in the regional quarterfinal Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Sauk Prairie def. Edgewood 25-21, 25-22, 25-18
For every run the Crusaders made to try to get back into the match, the sixth-seeded Eagles responded with a run of their own.
“We played a little timid, and we did not play that way in the quarterfinal,” Zwettler said. “You have to give credit to Sauk. In all three sets, they jumped on us and we weren’t able to get a side out.”
Sauk Prairie scored six straight points to seize a 7-2 lead in the third set. Edgewood answered with a 5-2 run, but the Eagles came back with a 7-1 run to put the Crusaders in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
Sauk scored five straight points to take a 14-9 lead in the first set. Edgewood trimmed its deficit to 18-16, but the Eagles scored four of the next five points.
With momentum on its side, Sauk jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the second set. Edgewood cut it to 8-7, but the Eagles rallied off four straight points.
The Crusaders used a 4-1 run to trim their deficit to 21-18. Junior Ella Foti, a Marquette commit, capped a long rally with a big kill to keep Edgewood afloat down 24-22, but the Crusaders were unable to save a first touch that went into the net.
“Our passing wasn’t what it usually is, and that led to second and third contact not being what it usually is,” Zwettler said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, and the pressure was always on our side of the net.
Foti finished with team highs in assists (12) and digs (13). Freshman Natalie Ring slammed 12 kills. Senior Caroline Craig served three aces, and sophomore Ally Barth added two blocks.
Edgewood def. Evansville 25-15, 25-6, 25-6
The Crusaders made quick work of the Blue Devils at Wilke Gymnasium.
Ring recorded 10 kills and six aces. Foti dished out 17 assists, and senior Annabel Lewis helped with 10 digs.