The Grantsburg Pirates volleyball team faced off against the Webster Tigers (who they are co-conference champions with) on Saturday in the Regional finals game. They played all five sets, with each set having a close score. After some hard work, the Pirates were able to pull through and bring the win home, becoming Regional champions.
Grantsburg coach Deb Allaman-Johnson said, “Webster is a top-notch team, and arguably the most deep, talented, and experienced team in the conference. It is an honor to share the conference title with them.”
Allaman-Johnson explained that the first time they played Webster this season, the Tigers were not full strength and the Pirates won in four sets. When they competed a second time, the Pirates were not in full strength and the Tigers won in four sets. “This time, we were both ready to go and it was a battle. It is always our goal to win, but when we get to high level play-offs, our goal is to play hard and as well as we can so we can hold our heads high win or lose, and so that we will be seen as a respected and worthy opponent.”
Knowing that Webster is strong on the serve receive, Allaman-Johnson knew that they would not get many points just on serving, and that proved to be correct. The Pirates were only able to ace the Tigers twice all night while they were aced nine times.
“The goal was to get them out of system so they could not rely so heavily on their powerful hitters. It was effective at times, but they still got great kills from Brooke Hetfeld, Ava Washburn, Kelsey Kidder, and Summer Winkler. It helped that our blockers really stepped up this time, because we are still improving on defense. Tiffany Gronski had four block assists, Jordan Java had three blocks plus they all had several good deflections that kept the ball aloft. We had three hitters in double digit kills (Java, Alli Peterson, Hanne Johnson), and Johnson had a statistical triple double with kills, digs, and assists. Sadye Bunting played great defense with 15 digs, and all of our back-row players came up with some amazing saves on hard hits. Jadyn Watt, Amy Harmon, Cate Lee, and Lainie Thoreen served tough balls that at least earned us some free balls occasionally.”
After defeating Webster and earning the Regional title, the Pirates are now preparing for their sectional game against Marathon on Thursday. They are studying some of their film to see what they can do, but Allaman-Johnson said that films can sometimes be deceiving, and hitters are often much more powerful and quick in-person.
“At this point of the season, our only goal is to be healthy and compete as hard as we can. We are so amazed and grateful to have even had a season at all, that we deeply appreciate every opportunity to get in the gym. We embrace the notion of "play well and stay well” and wish that to all of our opponents.”