The Division 3 volleyball landscape is changing a little bit. New teams that are moving up from Division 4 to Division 3, Division 3 teams to Division 4. Historical state tournament battles may now be in the Sectionals. Another dimension…
The Division 3 volleyball landscape is changing a little bit. New teams that are moving up from Division 4 to Division 3, Division 3 teams to Division 4. Historical state tournament battles may now be in the Sectionals. Another dimension is the perennial powers have a movement of youth moving in and some of the familiar names of All State players we have seen at the state tournament have graduated and will start their college volleyball careers this Fall. Considering all those factors it makes for an exciting chance for teams to make their mark in Division 3 this upcoming season.
Colfax Section 1
Sectional Semifinal – Clear Lake
Grantsburg was the top team in this group last year, making it to the sectional final before falling to Eau Claire Regis. The Pirates may be one of the favorites again this fall despite the graduation of top hitter Kenna Johnson. They will be returning three hitters with over 100 kills in Randi Siebenthal, Olivia Ohnstad, and Linda Harmon. Libero, Jenna McNally will be back for her Senior year after having 439 digs last year. Colfax, who lost to Grantsburg in the sectional semifinal will be returning some key players led by Kameri Merideth who is a rising Class of 2020 prospect.
Sectional Semifinal – Arcadia
Eau Claire Regis has been a consistent force to come out of this sectional for years. Regis was the state runner up in 2017. The Ramblers had five players with over 100 kills and will be returning three of them in Elle Matson, Teryn Karlstad, and Bria Thalacker. Cochrane-Fountain City defeated La Crosse Aquinas in order to get to Regis in the sectional semifinals. Aquinas, who always has a solid program will be returning Lexi Donarski who is a commit to Iowa State for basketball.
St. Marys Catholic Sectional 2
Sectional Semifinal – Neillsville
Stratford will be returning some key cogs in their lineup after advancing to the semifinals last year with over 40 wins last year, dropping their final match to Regis 19-17. Outside hitter, Mazie Nagel will be back for her Senior year for Stratford. Athens, who lost in the sectional semifinals to Stratford has moved to Division 4. Abbotsford, who was just out of the rankings last season will be another respectable foe in this section.
Sectional Semifinal – Crivitz
This group will be incredibly balanced with plenty of teams feeling they have a shot to advance to the sectional final. Oconto is back with Cora Behnke, a top 2021 outside hitter, but their team is more than just Behnke. The Blue Devils will return outside hitter Aubree Brucheger as well as Jenna Hornblad and Mara Allen who all had over 100 kills last year. They will be looking to avenge their loss to St. Mary Catholic, who ended their season last year and will be hosting the sectional semifinals this year. The Zephyrs will be returning three big hitters who all had over 200 kills in Sydney Andersen, Alyssa Rankin, and Abbi Thelen. Pacelli out of Stevens Point is new in this grouping and spent most of 2017 in the top ten rankings for Division 3.
Wisconsin Heights Sectional 3
Sectional Semifinal – Mineral Point
Cuba City was rated in the top ten most of the year and will be one of the top returning teams in this group for 2018. In 2018, the Cubans were bounced out of the sectional semifinal by Waterloo (which has moved to the other group in this section). The Cubans top attacker will be returning in Brinley Wood who led the team with 341 kills and setter Courtney Bush who had over 800 assists. Wisconsin Heights was a team near the top ten most of 2017 and will be another contender with Cuba City.
Sectional Semifinal – Dodgeland
In this group there are two teams that standout right away in Lake Country Lutheran and Waterloo. Last year these two teams had a battle in the state semifinals with LCL winning in the fifth set before eventually capturing the state title. Brooke Anderson, an Iowa State recruit will not be back for LCL, but they will still be returning Jennifer O’Keefe who had over 300 kills and Rylee Vaughn in the backrow who had just under 300 digs for the Lightning. Waterloo will be without four year starter and setter Clare Mosher, a Marquette commit, but will have Claire’s sister Brooke Mosher coming back for her Sophomore year after 449 kill as a Freshman and Joslyn Wood who had nearly 250 kills as a Freshman as well. These two teams could be on a crash course to meet each other in Dodgeland instead of the state tournament like years past.
Sectional Final 4 – Lourdes Academy
Sectional Semifinal – Reedsville
This might be the most balanced and talented sectional semifinal grouping in Division 3. One of the biggest changes would be Lourdes Academy, which was last years Division 4 runner up, has now been bumped up to Division 3. They return must of their team with returning All State players Rachel Aasby and Claire Chier. Howards Grove was the state champion in 2016, and will have an incredibly talented, but young roster that is scrappy. Emma Bruckshen is back for her Junior year after a breakout Sophomore season with 300 plus kills. Algoma is also in this section and was rated in the top ten most of 2017, not to mention Manitowoc Lutheran who was this group’s winner before losing to Lake Country Lutheran in the sectional final. Oostburg is always a traditionally strong program in this area as well.
Sectional Semifinal – The Prairie School
Lake Country Lutheran is no longer in this sectional which for the past few years have given headaches to others in this sectional. There are no teams in this group that were in the top ten rankings to finish the year, which will make for a wide open field. Living Word Lutheran and The Prairie School will be early favorites based on their experience of last year being the two and three seeds behind LCL. The Prairie School returns three attackers with over 200 kills from 2017 in Emily Terry, Driea Bode, and Jolie Larson.