Verona shook off a slow start en route to a four-set road win over Madison Memorial on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Lake Mills ended the Wildcats’ 19-match winning streak in the championship match of the Kettle Moraine Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Verona defeated Whitewater and Merrill at Kettle Moraine, and also picked up a Big Eight Conference road win over Sun Prairie on Thursday, Sept. 26.
The Wildcats swept Madison West at home on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Verona won all six of its matches Saturday, Sept. 21, en route to a championship at the Middleton Invitational. The Wildcats were coming off a sweep of Janesville Craig on Thursday, Sept. 19.
“We’re asking them to make changes and putting a lot on their plate to execute, and they’ve responded well to those changes,” Verona coach Jillian Bauer said. “I also think they’ve bought in to what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The Wildcats went on the road and swept Middleton on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Verona def. Madison Memorial 21-25, 25-16, 25-12, 25-16
Jordan Armstrong recorded seven service points to begin the second set, mixing in float serves to keep the Spartans out of system.
“The gym really affects how I serve,” she said. “Plus, the float serve is a lot harder to handle than a regular top-spin serve.”
The two teams traded points for the rest of the set. The Wildcats finished off the third set with 10 straight points.
“We’ve talked all season about out-working the other side,” Bauer said, “whether that’s our defense, communication or bench. Our bench came to life in the final three sets, and that helped the on-court kids get going.”
The two teams traded short runs early in the fourth set before the Wildcats went ahead for good up 11-9.
The Wildcats took their first lead of the match up 13-12 in the first set, but the Spartans closed the first with a 7-2 run.
“Part of it was beating ourselves, and part of it was not coming ready to play,” Bauer said. “The girls know I’m a pretty direct person, so I called them out on it. They responded very well.”
Armstrong finished with 35 assists and five aces. Claudia Bobb recorded 14 kills, and Amelia Hust had 14 digs. Maddy Kelley and Rachel Witthuhn added two blocks apiece.
Kettle Moraine Invitational
The Wildcats cruised past Whitewater (25-15, 25-8) and Merrill (25-13, 25-11) before falling to Lake Mills 29-27, 25-19.
Armstrong racked up 46 total assists, two blocks against Merrill and two aces against Lake Mills. Hust had 27 total digs. Kelley added seven kills and three blocks against Lake Mills to go with six kills and two blocks against Merrill.
Bobb slammed seven kills and Rachel Karnosky served three aces against Whitewater.
Delaney McIntosh had four aces against Merrill. Witthuhn picked up three blocks against Lake Mills.
Verona def. Sun Prairie 25-18, 25-14, 21-25, 25-18
The Wildcats took sole possession of first place in the Big Eight with their victory over the Cardinals.
Kelley had a match-high five blocks against a Sun Prairie squad with a plethora of offensive weapons. Hust finished with a match-high 19 digs, thanks in large part to her positioning and willingness to take on Sun Prairie’s hitters.
“It’s all about reading the ball, stepping in and being confident,” Hust said. “The adrenaline definitely helps, too.”
Bobb slammed a match-high 14 kills, and Armstrong dished out a match-high 35 assists. Bobb and Karnosky added three aces apiece.
“We’ve been working hard to build our mental toughness, and this was a step in the right direction,” Bauer said. “We’ll see Sun Prairie again, whether it’s at the conference tournament or in sectionals.”
Verona def. Madison West 25-11, 25-9, 25-11
The Wildcats got off to fast starts in all three sets en route to a sweep of the Regents.
Verona jumped out to a 5-1 start to the match, but West responded with a 4-1 run to trim its deficit to 6-5.
“That was definitely our opportunity to push them and make the set a lot closer,” West coach Ben Sperstad said. “We were making them uncomfortable and had them out of system. After we lost serve and lost a couple points, our energy dropped.”
Bobb finished with a match-high 13 kills. Armstrong dished out 20 assists, Hust had 10 digs, and Kelley added three blocks.
Verona defeated Madison Edgewood 25-16, 25-16 in the championship match, capping a day of dominance.
The Wildcats beat Platteville 25-21, 25-20 in the semifinals. In pool play, Verona beat Monticello (25-10, 25-13), Holmen (25-10, 25-23), Edgewood (25-12, 25-16) and Wisconsin Heights (25-14, 25-14).
McINntosh slammed six kills in the championship against Edgewood, five kills against Wisconsin Heights, eight digs and three aces in the pool-play match against Edgewood and five digs and four aces against Platteville.
Armstrong dished out 101 assists in the Wildcats’ six matches. Megan Touchett racked up 18 kills in the matches against Edgewood and Platteville.
Bobb added nine digs and three aces in the championship match, six digs against Holmen and five kills against Wisconsin Heights. Witthuhn was a force at the net with four kills against Monticello and a combined 10 blocks in the other pool-play matches.
Hust recorded nine digs in the championship match, 10 digs and two aces against Wisconsin Heights and six digs and two aces against Holmen.
Kelley added six kills against Holmen and three blocks in the pool-play match against Edgewood. Karnosky served two aces against Holmen.
Verona def. Janesville Craig 25-19, 25-13, 25-19
Bobb recorded 12 kills in the Wildcats’ home win over the Cougars. Armstrong dished out 32 assists, and Hust had eight digs. Karnosky and McIntosh each served three aces. Kelley and Witthuhn each had two blocks.
Verona def. Middleton 25-18, 25-16, 25-20
McIntosh slammed 11 kills in the sweep. Armstrong recorded 37 assists and three aces, while Bobb finished with 23 digs.