The UW-Baraboo/Sauk County women’s volleyball team hosted UW-Rock County on Wednesday for its first conference match of the season and swept the Rattlers 25-7, 25-12, 25-11.

The match was one-sided throughout, as the Fighting Spirits are carrying over their strength from last year while UW-Rock features only seven players on the roster. UW-Baraboo jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the opening set to set the tone, with Reedsburg native Teisha Grundahl recording a couple of aces and the Spirits took advantage of several poor serve returns and unforced errors from the Rattlers to go up 16-4. An eventual kill from Kaitlin Gilbert and a botched hit from UW-Rock gave the Spirits the first set, 25-7.

Sophomore Amber Grundahl started to heat up at the net in the second set, throwing down big kills while making a few athletic digs along the way. Baraboo led 12-4 early before going on a 4-2 run to make it 19-6. The Spirits covered the floor well defensively while UW-Rock’s inexperience showed, as the Rattlers continued to make errors including a few illegal hits and UW-Baraboo took the set 25-12.

The third set was much of the same, as the Spirits had a 9-2 advantage early before going up 17-6 and winning the set 25-11. Amber Grundahl led the team in kills with eight on the night while Madisyn Makal added six and Gilbert had three. Kelsey Storkel led in assists with 10, while Makal added seven. Storkel mentioned while the win was an easy one, grabbing an early conference victory is crucial.

“The first conference game, getting a win is always a good thing,” she said. “I thought the team did really well in our serve receive and we stayed focus and didn’t stoop to the other’s team level.”

Makal, a sophomore, said the Spirits are already starting to come together.

“We’re starting to jell more,” she said. “We had some players starting late, which kind of challenged us because they weren’t maybe up to par with our playing skills or didn’t know us and how we played. But we’re starting to come together as the season goes.”

The Spirits are now 3-0 overall and 1-0 in Wisconsin Collegiate Conference West Division play. They took down UW-Sheboygan 25-12, 21-25, 25-11, 17-25, 15-12 in the season opener on Friday before defeating host UW-Waukesha 20-25, 25-14, 25-10, 26-24 on Monday. UW-Baraboo/Sauk Country will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts UW-Barron for another WCC Western Division matchup.

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Regional Sports Reporter