The Verona volleyball team clinched at least a share of the Big Eight Conference title with a 25-20, 25-8, 25-18 home win over Beloit Memorial on Thursday, Oct. 10.
The Wildcats maintained a one-game lead over Sun Prairie in the conference race, and had a chance to clinch the outright league title Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Madison East.
“It’s easy to look ahead to the next match, and we’ve worked hard at focusing on the match at hand,” Verona coach Jillian Bauer said. “From here on out, we cannot underestimate any team we play. We have to realize the target on our back.”
The Wildcats (28-4, 8-0 Big Eight) got contributions from all six seniors on Senior Night against the Purple Knights.
After a close start to the match, Beloit Memorial (8-17, 3-5 Big Eight) used a 6-1 run to lead 16-11.
“We have a lot of work to do against teams that are scrappy,” Bauer said. “Beloit was working harder than us. You can’t not communicate and come out laissez-faire against those kind of teams.”
Verona found its footing and closed the set on a 14-4 run. Maddy Kelley recorded two blocks on the same point and a kill during the run, and Delaney McIntosh and Megan Touchett each had two kills. Jordan Armstrong had a tip kill and an ace to end the opening set.
The Wildcats clicked on all cylinders in the second set, as they had runs of seven, five and three (three times).
The two teams traded the first eight points of the third set before Verona went on a 4-0 run. The Purple Knights cut their deficit to one on four separate occasions, but the Wildcats answered with a 7-0 run to go up 20-12, as Amelia Hust served three of her match-high six aces.
“I just knew I needed to help my team in that moment,” Hust said. “We were struggling with our energy, so I felt like it was my job to get us going in that role.”
Beloit Memorial fought its way back into the set with a 6-1 run, but Verona closed the match on a 4-0 run.
Kelley had team highs in kills (10) and blocks (4). Armstrong dished out 31 assists, and Hust finished with 15 digs.