Volleyball ready to take off

Sophomore Anna Schmitt sets up to serve during the Wildcats' Aug. 28 match against New London-Spicer.
Sophomore Anna Schmitt sets up to serve during the Wildcats’ Aug. 28 match against New London-Spicer.

If you only looked at the Waconia volleyball team’s 3-3 record headed into last week, you’re missing the picture, according to head coach Jim Lee.

The Wildcats three losses were to ranked teams, and after last weekend’s tournament in Marshall, Waconia now has the confidence to defeat such ranked teams, Lee said.

“Up until this point, we were playing as if in a cocoon,” he said. “Thankfully, we were able to finally spread out wings this week.”

Waconia 3, Delano 1
On Sept. 4, the Wildcats defeated Delano 25-10, 25-23, 22-25, and 25-12. Lee said the Wildcats knew they needed this match.

Senior Anna Pioske had 19 digs, five blocks, and 24 kills to lead the Wildcat offense. Sophomore Jessica Wolf had 14 kills, while senior Steph Dressen added six kills and five blocks. Junior Kirsten Wagener and sophomore Maddy Lage each had five blocks. Senior Caroline Jacobs had eight digs.

Waconia 2, Canby 0
Competing in the Marshall Invitational on Sept. 7-8, the Wildcats were 4-1 at the tournament to finish fifth of 32 teams. The Wildcats started the tournament well, defeating Canby 25-13 and 25-10. Pioske had nine kills and four aces, while Wolf had three blocks and seven kills, and Wagener added four blocks and four kills. Waconia 2, Belle Pl. 0 Defeating No. 6 (2A) Belle Plaine 25-22 and 25-23, the Wildcats finished strong, something they had not yet been doing this season, according to Lee.

Dressen, Wagener, and Pioske each had four blocks against Belle Plaine. Pioske and Wolf combined for 19 kills, while Jacobs had 10 digs.

Lakeville North 2, Waconia 1
Their only loss of the tournament, the Wildcats fell to No. 1 (3A) Lakeville North 22-25, 25-23, 9-15.

Pioske (12 digs, 14 kills, three blocks), Jacobs (14 digs), Wagener (three blocks), and Wolf (12 kills) once again led the Waconia offense. Sophomore Anna Schmitt added eight digs.

“Taking Lakeville North to three sets added even more kudos to a fulfilling weekend,” Lee said.

Waconia 2, Minneota 0
Winning 25-20 and 25-21 over No. 4 (1A) Minneota, Dressen and Wolf each had five blocks. Pioske had 16 kills, while Wagener had five. Down 18-13 in the second set, junior Julia Allenson stepped back to the service line for the Wildcats and tied it at 18-18. Waconia then went on a 7-3 run to win.

Waconia 2, Marshall 1
For the first time, the Wildcats defeated the No. 1 (2A) Marshall Tigers. Winning 25-23, 18-25, and 15-7, it took a team effort to take down the Tigers and finish fifth in the tournament.

Blocks came from Wagener (5), Dressen (3), and sophomore Jenna VanDeVelde (3). It was a match of digs, with Jacobs (11), sophomore Kia Pankey (9), and Pioske (8) combining for 28 total digs. Pioske (14) and Wolf (8) led the team in kills.

Overall, Lee said it was a very impressive week for the Wildcats.

“Beating a ranked conference rival on the road and then heading to the Marshall Tournament with five ranked teams staring you in the face can be a little daunting,” he said, “but the girls rose to the challenge.”

The Wildcats are 2-0 in WCC play and are 8-4 overall.