Cricket spikers advance into tough sectional tourney field
FALL CREEK - According to Fall Creek prep volleyball head coach Matt Prissel, Chippewa Falls McDonell isn't just a good Division 3 squad, The Macks are ranked No. 3 in the state.
"I think if you put them in any division they would do well, including Division 1," Prissel said. "Including the big schools in the south, I think they are one of the most complete teams we've certainly faced and against any team they would face. That's how good they are."
The Macks, 43-6 overall, won the Division 4 championship last season and moved up this year to D-3. And yet they're not even considered the best team in the Division as defending champ Howards Grove is No. 2 in the final coaches' poll and No. 1 ranked St. Croix Falls, another member of the WIAA Division 3 Barron Sectional Tournament field which takes place this weekend
The loaded tournament field has St. Croix Falls, 31-2 overall, hosting No. 5 ranked Barron, 29-4 and FC, 31-13 overall at McDonell with matches beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26. The championship game of the tournament is set for Saturday, 7 p.m. at Barron. . All four teams are either No. 1 or No. 2 seeds.
McDonell defeated Fall Creek this season 3-0 and Prissel well knows the Macks' strengths are their experience and depth. They are led in kills by Kali Goulet and Anna Thaler, in blocks by Alayna Crawford and Aubrey Dorn and in assists Abby Bresina and Emily Cooper. Dorn and Bresina also lead the team in aces. In other words, lots of good players being able to score points and do important jobs on the court. And all of these players are seniors. They can also rotate in a number of players and not skip a beat, making them a tough foe even in a five-game match
Macks are not invincible and have losses to bigger schools like Hudson, Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire Memorial but also to smaller schools like Marshfield Columbus, ranked No. 1 in Division 4, Osceola and to the D-3 No. 1 St. Croix Falls. The Crickets have to hope the recent end-of-season momentum they have now leads to a more competitive situation against the Macks, perhaps one they may not expect, especially with a possible rematch with the Saints. SCF, Heart O'North Conference and regional champ, is led in kills, aces and blocks by middle and outside hitters Kelsey Cooper and senior Lucy Belisle and in assists by senior setter Catherine Williams. Freshman outside hitter Britta Olson is also key contributor. Barron was the runner-up in the HON and their only losses were to SCF (twice), Osceola and regional champ Rice Lake. The Golden Bears would love nothing better to be able to play the championship game on its home floor.
The state tournament is next weekend in Green Bay,