Aquinas High School volleyball coach Nellie George prefers to focus on the Blugold when it comes to preparation, especially in the playoffs.
George does his due diligence in studying the opponent and the coaching staff strategizes, sure, but most aspects of winning boil down to overlapping what has already led to success.
âAt the end of the day, I just need to know for myself what to look for or find trends to share with the kids,â George said of preparing for the Division 3 final of the Blugolds’ WIAA vs. Unity on Saturday. âI try not to give them too much information because real-time advice is more applicable.
“If we can take care of the ball on our side of the net, what happens on the other side of the net doesn’t really impact us.”
And Aquinas, sixth and second seed (29-5) plays a good volleyball with the 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 15-7 Thursday night against Fall Creek, third and seed. . as a last example.
The performance, in which the Blugolds recovered from two sets and a 22-16 deficit in the third set, gave sixth-place Aquinas a sectional championship game against fifth-placed Unity on Saturday. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.
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Senior Jacy Weisbrod had 28 kills and 15 digs for the Blugold, who stopped the Crickets (42-5) after a five-game winning streak. Junior Shea Bahr added 14 kills and 23 digs with five aces.
Junior Macy Donarski had 55 assists and 17 digs and senior Bailey Theusch 24 digs for Aquinas, who have won eight straight games and are trying to become a state qualifier for the second time in three years and the third time since 2016.
Unity (35-1) is led by the trio of Sidney Bader, 5-foot-10-inch senior outside forward, 6-foot junior midfielder Sydney Smith and 5-8 junior outside Emma Johnson, who all average more than three kills per set. Bader’s 315 kills lead the team, followed by Smith’s 307 and Johnson’s 273.
The Blugolds can confidently enter the final after the comeback – especially the rally of a 22-16 loss in the third – to Fall Creek on home turf.
âWhat I’ve seen from everyone during this race is mental toughness,â said George. âMaddie (George) and Shea had good serves, Bailey had good passes and serves-receptions with good digs, and Jacy just got down to business, which she does.
“The good thing about (Jacy) is that if the ball doesn’t come back to her, she still creates space for the others. Sydney (Emineth) pulled off an attack that got us the ball back. for Shea to serve, and that’s the result of that.When we have a good time, the space is there for everyone, and Macy can choose where she wants to go with the ball.
Emineth’s kill put Bahr on duty and moved Weisbrod to the front, and the Blugolds were quickly at 23-21. George cheered on his team during a timeout at Fall Creek, and Aquinas won the next point and tied it when a tight appeal on a ball landing near the line came after an officials meeting.
Bahr then managed the final two serves for the victory that kept the Blugold alive.