Patriots volleyball takes first step

PEMBINE, Wis. – Goodman-Pembine’s first-year volleyball co-op has taken the first step in the state tournament.

The second-seeded Patriots swept Northern Lakes Conference foe Phelps 3-0 (25-5, 25-7, 25-14) to open the WIAA Division 4 regional volleyball tournament Tuesday.

“We got the job done and we got it done correctly,” said Coach Ashley Kalkofen, noting her Patriots didn’t let up in the match. “We kept playing hard.

“They had to play hard because the underdog is always a fighter.”

Goodman-Pembine, with plenty of respect for Knights senior hitter Ashley Volkmann, answered with four reliable slammers and the deft sets of Marissa Moloney.

“From day one we’ve talked about teamwork,” Kalkofen said. “You’re not going to get through a season without being a team, especially one that is combined in a whole new sport.

“My seniors and juniors have shown a lot of pride.”

Rachel Stankevich and Courtney Goyak each laced nine Patriot kills and junior Gabrielle Johnson had seven. Kayleigh Betka is another front row force.

Moloney, who finished with 27 assists, and Brittany Stepien set up the hitters.

“We’ve been very structured as a team, this is our job and this is what we have to do,” Kalkofen said.

Stankevich delivered three straight kills and Goyak went on a serving spree in the first-set romp.

Brittany Toll closed out the second set with a spike.

In the third set, Phelps hung around until Goodman-Pembine expanded a 10-8 lead to 20-11 after three straight smashes from Johnson, Betka and Goyak.

The Patriots pulled ahead 23-11 when Stankevich fired back-to-back aces. The senior tallied four of Goodman-Pembine’s 12 aces in the match. Goyak added three.

Goodman-Pembine and Elcho, which stunned third-seeded Niagara in three sets Tuesday, will clash at 7 p.m. Thursday at Goodman in a regional semifinal.

“Elcho is pretty strong and feisty,” Kalkofen said.

Florence hosts Three Lakes, a 3-0 winner over Wausaukee, in another regional semifinal Thursday.

Regional final will be held Saturday night.