On Monday Oregon was the opponent, Thursday it will be Fort Atkinson, Friday it will be Waupun and then it will be Waupun again on Saturday afternoon in the WIAA Division 1 regional semifinals.
Tuesday it was Stoughton.
And Beaver Dam’s prep girls volleyball team took care of business in rather efficient fashion, sweeping the Vikings, 25-23, 25-17, 26-24, to improve to 2-0 in what is easily the Golden Beavers’ busiest week of the WIAA’s “alternate fall season.”
Not only did they win — they also made progress toward hopefully continuing the season for longer than just a few more days.
“The approach we took this week is let’s get better each match into Saturday,” said Beaver Dam coach Doug Pickarts, whose team is seeded third at regionals and would need to get by second-seeded Waupun and then either top-seeded Sun Prairie or fourth-seeded Ripon in the regional finals Saturday night in order to make it through to sectionals.
“I thought we were better tonight than against Oregon,” Pickarts added. “And we’ll play a good Fort team on Thursday, and hopefully win or lose we get better in that match.”
Beaver Dam dropped the first set Monday on the road against the Panthers but rebounded for an 18-25, 25-19, 25-16, 26-24 victory.
The Golden Beavers only needed three sets on Tuesday night.
Trailing 15-12 midway through the first set, they were able to rally and tie the score at 16 on a block by Kylie Wittnebel — who led the team in that category with four.
Then down 22-21, it was a kill by Cassandra Luedtke — she had seven on the night — that knotted things up before she eventually scored match point with another kill.
In the second set, it was a powerful kill by Haley Allen — she had a match-high 15 — that got the Golden Beavers going. That kill made it 6-4, sparking a mini 5-1 run that created enough cushion for Beaver Dam to eventually pull away and take a two-sets-to-none advantage.
Beaver Dam never trailed after being down 3-2 in the early going of that set, and a big reason why is that unforced errors were kept in check.
“We’re not a tough serving team — we have a couple kids who serve tough — so just get your serve in and give us a chance,” Pickarts said of the Golden Beavers approach in terms of making the other team earn their points. “And I even tell them on digs sometimes, or on serve receive, sometimes sending the ball over on a tougher serve or tougher hit lets us play for another point.”
That strategy continued working into the third set, although that stanza was the toughest of all for Beaver Dam to finish.
A spike kill by Wittnebel knotted the score at 5, and the set would go on to be tied again at 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 before Beaver Dam threatened to pull away by going in front 20-16 on a kill by Luedtke.
Anni Salettel followed with another kill to make it 21-16 and she would add one more for a 22-17 advantage. But Stoughton didn't fade as the Vikings fought back and tied the score at 23 and again at 24.
After both deadlocks, though, the Vikings had service errors, and after the second, Allen was able to end the match with a kill.
As for how, exactly, the Golden Beavers were better Tuesday than Monday — again, their goal throughout the week is to build momentum for the playoffs — Pickarts pointed to a number of areas.
“We hit the ball better and we didn’t have quite as many serving errors,” he said, adding that “Last night in Oregon we were getting beat in a certain area, and I thought we did a better job covering it tonight — we just didn’t’ make as many mistakes as we made last night, and I thought our kids hit the ball better tonight.”
And the coach likes how things are trending for more success to come.
“The difference now is we’re starting to build some confidence — we’re starting to play better,” he said. “We’re a still a little inconsistent, but some of that is attributed to our youth. I don’t know if we played this match earlier (in the season) if we would have closed them out in three like we did tonight.
“Our kids have a lot of heart, so I’m feeling good about the direction we’re going.”
Follow Dan on Twitter @Danny_Larson_8 or contact him at 920-356-6753.