Menomonee Falls girls volleyball team works past absences
Girls rout field on way to Watertown Invite crown
The Menomonee Falls girls volleyball team was not exactly healthy heading into Saturday's Watertown Invitational, but the Indians were motivated after a flat effort in the previous week's Brookfield Central Tourney.
So despite battling a lingering illness from All-American outside hitter Simone Lee and the absence of defensive specialists Brittany Robinson (concussion) and Jenna Waldhuetter (ACT testing), the top-ranked in state Indians beat three state-ranked opponents to claim the title in the annual event.
"It was actually pretty nice," said Indians coach J.C. Bruns. "We took care of business and put the stuff from the previous week behind us."
Another big week
With that momentum firmly on their side, the Indians entered another big week. They hosted still unbeaten and honorable mention selection in state polls Brookfield East in a Greater Metro Conference dual Tuesday and then will enter on Friday and Saturday the West Bend Sprawl, the 20-plus team annual preview of the WIAA State Tournament.
"Almost nobody's missing," said Bruns. "Anybody whose anybody (in the state) is there."
With two tournament wins in four tries to his team's credit, Bruns has a simple goal in mind for his team this weekend.
"I want us to maintain focus. Not relax and get happy with where we are," he said.
The Indians didn't act like that at all at Watertown. In pool play, they dispatched Racine St. Catherine's (25-14, 25-8), Madison La Follette (25-16, 25-18) and Kettle Moraine Lutheran (20-25, 25-17, 15-7). St. Catherine's started the day ranked second in state Division 3 polls, but was out a top player because of an injury.
The win over KML was very good, said Bruns, as the Chargers are the defending state Division 2 champions and are currently ranked second in Division 2 polls.
Those wins launched the Indians into the championship round where they buried North Shore Conference leader Cedarburg, 25-18, 25-12, and then in stunning fashion crushed third-ranked in state Division 1 polls Neenah, 25-21, 25-10, in the final.
"That was a very nice win," said Bruns of the final.
Lee played throughout the tourney despite her situation, and to fill in the gaps at defensive specialist, Bruns brought up senior starter Maddie Micech's younger sisters Jensen (sophomore) and McKenna (freshman).
"They were able to serve and do other things and that helped," said Bruns. He also noted that senior defensive specialist Rachel Frankowski also played well as did middle hitter Erin Otzelberger.
"We really didn't miss a beat," said Bruns. "We were concerned about Simone's health. She missed Tuesday's match (a win against West Allis Central) and Wednesday's practice. She still wasn't 100 percent but she did well."
He noted that senior setter Abby Becker remains a linchpin.
"She was crazy good," he said. "She really mixed things up well and really put the ball where we needed it."
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