By BURT ANGELI
NIAGARA, Wis. – Niagara, despite a rocky start, swept St. Thomas Aquinas Academy 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-12) in M&O Conference girls volleyball Tuesday.
Brooklyn Wolosyn’s 11 kills and Shelby Borchardt’s 39 digs paced the Badgers, who trailed 7-0 in the first set and needed a late surge in the second.
“We came out terrible,” Niagara Coach Carol St. Arnauld said. “We have to communicate better. Tournament time is around the corner and I told my kids we have to step it up.
“We did some good things but we’re just not communicating on the floor at all.”
During a timeout, St. Arnauld asked her Badgers to “somebody make a play out there” and “are we going to show up tonight?”
They did, eventually.
Niagara pulled ahead 9-8 in the first set and rolled from there. Kills from Kate Nawn, MacKenzie Gregg and Brooklyn Wolosyn highlighted the comeback.
“This team, if they do get behind, I know that they have the fight in them to come back,” St. Arnauld said. “You don’t want to start off games like that. You can’t.”
In the second set, a Shanna Nordell kill boosted the Badger lead to 19-15. Gregg, sidelined for the past three matches with a sprained ankle, added a block kill for 21-16.
“That makes us better,” St. Arnauld said of Gregg, a junior middle hitter.
The Cavalettes closed to 22-19 but two Wolosyn slams settled the set.
The jump-serving Borchardt fired an ace to end the third set and complete the sweep. The junior learned to jump serve this summer at UW-La Crosse.
“Shelby does a nice job,” St. Arnauld said. “She covers my back row phenomenal.”
Niagara (9-5 M&O) travels to Lena on Thursday to wrap up the regular season. The Badgers will meet the host Wildcats and Wausaukee.
Unless there’s a challenge to the seeding, Niagara landed the third spot in the WIAA Division 4 regional tourney starting next week. Florence, according to St. Arnauld, wound up first and Goodman-Pembine second.
“The communication has to get better,” St. Arnauld said. “We have to pick up our game, no doubt about it.”
Riley Schultz’s five kills, Molly Linczewski’s fur digs and Alyssa Hornick’s five assists led the Cavalettes.
Niagara summary follows:
Kate Nawn – 9 kills, 1 dig, 2 aces, 100 percent serving; Mackenzie Gregg – 3 kills; Brooklyn Wolosyn – 11 kills, 1 dig, 3 assists; Madisin DePas – 5 digs; Shelby Borchardt – 1 kill, 39 digs, 1 assist, 1 ace, 100 percent serving; Myah Anderson – 1 kill, 100 percent serving; Shanna Nordell – 4 kills, 9 digs, 8 assists, 1 ace; Casey Spigarelli – 1 kill, 1 assist, 1 ace, 100 percent serving; Maria Miller – 1 dig, 11 assists, 1 ace, 100 percent serving.