River Falls celebrates

River Falls’ Rebecca Randleman, left, Taylor Peterson (14), Morgan Kealy (5), Hannah Jarocki (7) and Olivia Doerre (8) celebrate after Kealy delivered the match-clinching kill in the Wildcats’ three-set sweep of Marshfield in a Division 1 volleyball sectional semifinal Thursday night, Oct. 27, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / Star-Observer photo

For the second straight season, River Falls and Chippewa Falls will meet for a berth in the WIAA Division 1 State Volleyball Tournament. Only this time the seeds are reversed.

Second-seeded River Falls advanced to Saturday’s sectional final against top-seeded Chippewa Falls with a three-set sweep of No. 3 seed Marshfield in the sectional semifinals Thursday night in Hudson. Earlier in the night the Cardinals held off fourth-seeded Hudson in five sets to move on.

Saturday night’s match at Eau Claire North will be a rematch of last year’s sectional final, when the Wildcats earned a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals at the No. 1 seed. It will also be a rubber match for this season after the Wildcats defeated the Cardinals 2-1 at the Menomonie Sprawl and the Cardinals taking a 3-1 win in Big Rivers Conference play.

River Falls pulled out the sweep over Marshfield Thursday night despite a wobbly second set that saw the Cats let an early seven point lead slip away and was tied seven times before a Hannah Jarocki ace gave the Cats a 28-26 win.

The Wildcats took the first set 25-20 and outscored the Tigers 7-1 down the stretch in the third set to win 25-19.

River Falls coach Sara Kealy said the Wildcats “fell apart a little bit” in the second set.

“At one point we were hitting negative for a while,” she noted. “You're not gonna win a lot of matches when you're not passing the ball or hitting it in play.”

After taking the first set, the Wildcats jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the second only to have Marshfield come back and tie the score. The Cats trailed three times, including 24-25, before Jarocki’s game-winning ace gave them a 2-0 lead.

Marshfield stole the momentum early in the third set by opening a 6-1 lead, but River Falls tied it at 9-9 on a kill by Morgan Kealy. The score was tied 18-18 before a Brianna Brathol kill gave the Cats the lead for good. A Taylor Peterson ace made it a 20-18 game, and two more kills by Brathol pushed the lead to 24-19 before a reverse tip by Kealy for the kill gace the Cats the three-set sweep.

Coach Kealy said Saturday’s sectional final against Chippewa Falls will be a coin flip.

“They beat us, we beat them. They’re seeded one, we’re seeded two,” she noted. “We know each other but I think our teams are very different.”

Saturday’s sectional final is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Eau Claire North High School.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to jjohnson@orourkemediagroup.com.

Share your opinion

Avatar

Join the conversation

Recommended for you