With the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference tournament on the horizon, the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County got a solid late-season test on Monday night.
The Spirits hosted a triangular where they got to work on their game against a pair of non-conference opponents. UW-BSC opened the day with a sweep of Milwaukee Area Technical College before being swept themselves at the hands of the Viterbo junior varsity.
The Spirits (9-4) controlled the action against MATC, rolling to a 25-13, 25-7, 25-17 win. UW-BSC put the match away in the second set, jumping out to an 18-1 lead thanks to the strength of 11 straight serves by Teisha Grundahl.
Grundahl and Madisyn Makal each led the Spirits with three aces, while Kelsea Storkel had a team-high 24 assists. Amber Grundahl had 10 kills and Makal finished with two blocks.
“They were tall, but we played well and didn’t make mistakes,” UW-BSC coach Genevieve Raddatz said of the MATC match.
However, UW-BSC didn’t come back as fresh after a 45-minute break between matches. The Spirits started slowly against the Viterbo JV, digging themselves a 19-9 hole before suffering a 25-14 set-one loss.
UW-BSC put it together in the second set but still suffered a 25-20 loss. The Spirits and V-Hawks went toe to toe early in set three, with Viterbo holding on to a slim 11-10 lead. The V-Hawks dominated from there, scoring 12 straight points and pulling away for a 25-12 win.
Storkel led the Spirits with 14 assists and three aces against the V-Hawks, while Makal added seven kills.
Despite the loss, Raddatz said the Spirits showed improvement from when they suffered a 25-14, 25-14, 25-14 loss at Viterbo on Sept. 27. She also believes that Monday was great preparation for the teams they’ll face at the WCC tournament.
“We haven’t seen many teams with that speed, so this was a really good test,” Raddatz said. “We always, always look forward to this.”
The Spirits will close out the regular season by hosting UW-Marshfield/Wood County on Wednesday. At 4-0 in the Wisconsin College Conference West, UW-BSC already has the regular-season conference title wrapped up.
“We’ve won our side of the conference the last two years, the first time Baraboo has ever done that,” Raddatz said.
The Spirits swept UW-Marshfield/Wood County in their first meeting, rolling to a 25-19, 25-5, 25-12 road win. Another strong performance would give UW-BSC momentum heading into the WCC tournament at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells on Oct. 21-22.
Raddatz and the Spirits know that they have work to do if they are going to defend their WCC tournament title.
“We’re going to have a target on our back,” Raddatz said, noting that the Spirits returned just three players from last year’s championship team. “Teams have come in this year and said ‘There’s that team again.’ So it should be fun.”