For years it was Wausau Newman Catholic dominating Division 4 behind the likes of Mariah Whalen who is now at Wisconsin and Rylie Vaughn who will be heading to UW Milwaukee. With both of these athletes having graduated that opens…
For years it was Wausau Newman Catholic dominating Division 4 behind the likes of Mariah Whalen who is now at Wisconsin and Rylie Vaughn who will be heading to UW Milwaukee. With both of these athletes having graduated that opens up the field a little bit, but Division 4 will still have the defending state champions returning everyone in the Clayton Bears. There is also a major change with Lourdes Academy, who finished second last year, moving from Division 4 to Division 3. Plenty of groups are wide open with who could come out on top, and like last year, there is always an upset bound to happen along the way. Here is a quick preview to the sections of Division 4.
Section 1 – McDonell Central Catholic
Sectional Semifinal – South Shore
Mercer will be one of the top teams coming back this year out of this group. With a young team last year that tallied over 30 wins, they are back for more. They are led by Aubrey Schoeneman as an attacker with plenty of other weapons with Bailey Thompson, Ella Torkelson, and Ava Barton. This group is the “Far North” section up by Lake Superior and the Upper Peninsula and in a crash course to potentially meet up with the defending state champions.
Sectional Semifinal – Clayton
The defending state champions from Clayton have everyone back from last year’s state championship team. Soon to be Seniors Selena Levendoski and Alison Leslie combined for over 700 kills last year, both earning All State honors. This sectional semifinal group is extremely tough with some of these athletes playing club volleyball in the Minneapolis area. Luck will be returning top attacker Katie Mattson who had over 300 kills last season. McDonell Central Catholic had a solid team last year, but will be reloading due to plenty of attackers graduating. However, they will be returning setter Maggie Craker who had over 1000 assists.
Section 2 – Bowler
Sectional Semifinal – Three Lakes
Florence was one of the top teams to come out of this group. Right along the border of the Upper Peninsula, across from Iron Mountain, Florence was the number one seed and cruised to the sectional final before losing to Wausau Newman Catholic. Three Lakes was a three seed last year and will be back to challenge in order to play on their homecourt for the chance to compete in the sectional final.
Sectional Semifinal – Athens
Wausau Newman Catholic has made it a routine to be competing for state titles in early November. From 2013-2016, the Cardinals won four consecutive titles behind the likes of Mariah Whalen who is now on the Wisconsin Volleyball team. Rylie Vaughn was part of three of those state titles, and a state semifinal appearance last year, but will be competing at UW Milwaukee this Fall. The top returner will be Mackenzie Krach who had over 700 assists, 300 digs, and 100 kills. Athens dropped down from Division 3 to Division 4. Rib Lake and Columbus Catholic will also be looking to break through. This sectional semifinal is wide open for 2018.
Section 3 – Royal
Sectional Semifinal – Site Still Needed
This sectional semifinal group always had Royall as a perennial power, but they were upset last year by Bangor. Bangor has a solid group of athletes who were state champions in basketball this past year as well. Royall will be without Mckenzie Baeseman who had over 600 kills last season, but will be returning soon to be Sophomore, Emma Gruen who had over 100 kills and nearly 600 assists.
Sectional Semifinal – Belmont
Benton came out of this section last year with just under 30 wins, defeating Bangor in three sets to get to Green Bay. They have lost their top hitter to graduation in Emma Lawrence, but will be returning Lydia Jones, Maggie Dougherty, and Sophie Daugherty who all had over 100 kills last year. Southwestern spent much of the year hovering around the top ten rankings and has made state appearances before. Iowa-Grant will be returning top attacker Olivia Liddicoat and setter Kendall Peterson and will be an opponent to be a tough out, come tournament time. Seneca was the top seed in this sectional last year and will be looking to avenge their early tournament loss to Benton.
Section 4 – Randolph
Sectional Semifinal – Catholic Central
Central Catholic and Randolph were the top two teams to come out of this group last year, meeting in the sectional semifinal with Catholic Central coming out on top in five sets. Catholic Central, which is out of Burlington, will be returning soon to be Sophomore Sammie Seib who had just under 300 kills last season along with Grace Speigelhoff who had 293 kills in 2017. Randolph will be returning JoLea Woreck who had over 400 kills in 2017.
Sectional Semifinal – Central Wisconsin Christian
Lourdes Academy out of Oshkosh was the winner of this group last year and eventually would go on to finish second at state, however they will be in Division 3 this year leaving this group wide open. Central Wisconsin Christian will be returning three athletes with over 100 kills from last years team in Marissa Jansma, Claire Jansen, and Melissa Van Den Berg. Hilbert, which is always a small school powerhouse in this area will be returning two of their top players in Makaylee Kuhn and Veronica Thiel. Green Bay NEW Lutheran could be a team on the rise behind middle blocker Lydia Lloyd.