Fall Creek's sophomore middle blocker Gianna Vollrath slams a spike back at Oconto in the WIAA Division 3 Menasha St. Mary's Sectional Tournament championship match last weekend. Photo courtesy of Fall Creek Sports HistoryFall Creek players celebrate winning the sectional title, the school's first in volleyball. Photo by Fall Creek Sports History  Abigail Bell slides to saves the  ball from hitting the floor during the sectional finals match. Photo by Fall Creek Sports History Fall Creek fans give a big cheer during the sectional finals match. Photo by Fall Creek Sports History Fall Creek High School students fill their own section at the WIAA Division 3 Sectional Finals match at St. Mary's Central High School. Photo by Fall Creek Sports History

Crickets take part in their first-ever state prep volleyball tournament

WIAA State Girls Division 3 Volleyball Tournament Preview

GREEN BAY - Fall Creek High School will play in the 47th Girls Volleyball State Tournament will be held Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 7-9, at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

Fall Creek is making the program’s first-ever state tournament appearance and has the No. 4 seed in the Division 3 field. The Crickets inaugural experience in the tournament field comes by virtue of their 25-20, 25-11, 25-16 sweep over Oconto in the Menasha St. Mary's Central Sectional final.

The Crickets are the champions of the Western Division of the Cloverbelt Conference this year. Sophomore middle blocker Gianna Vollrath leads the team in kills with 382 with senior outside hitter Madisen Johnson has 155, junior middle blocker Emma Ryan 116 kills and senior outside hitter Malarie Vining 111 kills. Senior setter Catelyn Schultz is a team-leader in assists with 536 and fellow senior setter Quinlyn Rubeck with has 374 assists. Senior libero Abigail Bell has a team-best 407 digs, senior Gabby LeMay has 171 digs and five other players have over 140 digs.

Fall Creek's opponent in the Division 3 tournament field, Howards Grove was issued the top seed in the bracket and the top-ranked team in the state in the state coaches' poll. The Tigers are making their fourth appearance at state and their first since 2016 when they captured the Division 3 championship. They also won the Class C championship in 1976 back during the pool play era. The Tigers topped past Whitefish Bay Dominican in three sets 25-13, 25-11, 25-22 in the final of the Kohler Sectional to continue their quest for a third state championship. They are the champions of the Big East Conference this fall. Sophomore outside hitter Karissa Kaminski leads the team in kills with 350 while senior Middle Blocker Emily Bruckschen has 263 kills. Sophomore setter Emma Baierl has a team-best 725 assists and teammate junior setter Leah Parnitzke has nearly 500 assists. Junior libero Mackenzie Holzwart had a team-best 420 digs while junior Abby Teunissen has 240 digs.

Essentially the state tournament features the top four teams in the state according to the state coaches' poll. Second-seeded Waterloo returns to the tournament field for the fourth time and the first since 2017. In the Pirates’ first two state experiences, they won back-to-back championships in 2014-15. Their quest for a third title continues following a 25-19, 17-25, 25-14, 25-15 win over River Ridge in the Dodgeland Sectional final. They are the champions in the South Division of the Capitol Conference in 2019. Junior outside hitter Brooke Mosher leads the Pirates in kills with 524 and junior outside hitter Joslyn Wolff has 307 kills. She also has 449 assists while Mosher has 432 as they are also setters as well. Sophomore libero Michaela Riege has 530 digs and four players have over 200 digs.

Third-seeded La Crosse Aquinas returns to the tournament field for the second time in program history. The Blugolds only other appearance resulted in a defeat in the semifinals in 2016. They beat Grantsburg 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 25-23 in the Colfax Sectional final to earn the trip to Green Bay. They are the champions of the Mississippi Valley Conference this season. Senior outside hitter Lexi Donarski has 373 kills with three players having over 140 kills. Senior setter Taylor Theusch has a team-best 681 assists and her freshman teammate Macy Donarsky has 118. Junior libero Victoria Nolte has a team-best 366 digs and four other players have over 140 digs.

Ticket prices for the tourney are $10 per session with school ticket packages available. To order tickets online, go to: https://bit.ly/2ovFEoC

You can watch the broadcast of the WIAA State Boys and Girls Volleyball Tournament finals Saturday on FS Wisconsin Plus. Check local cable listings for the FS Wisconsin Plus channel in your area. The finals will also be streamed live on FoxSportsGo.com with cable system authentication. The quarterfinals and semifinals of the WIAA State Boys & Girls Volleyball Tournaments will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis for $10.99 per month. To purchase a subscription to the live programming, visit https://bit.ly/2BWR1ZQ and click on the subscription graphic on the page. Archived streams of the games will be available on demand on the NFHS Network 72 hours after the tournament without requirement of a subscription.

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